April 1, 2014

Help! Google+ is stealing my content!

Do you post links to your content on Google+? You might change your mind after you learn that Google search now prefers Google+ excerpts over the original content.

Linking from various feed services to the main content is an old practice. People have been doing that with twitter and facebook for ages. Google search always linked to the main content and ignored the feeds.

Now that Google has its own feed service (or a wannabe social network, but I digress), do you think they resisted the temptation to rank their own site higher than yours? No, they didn't.

Not sure about other blogging services, but Blogger in particular now copies lengthy excerpts of every blog post to Google+ while screwing up article layout in the process. While the original content is linked, the link is not easy to find. There's no such thing as "read more" link.

Once copied to Google+, the content is plastered with ads and links to other Google services, then presented way higher in search results than the original content, effectively replacing my ad-free content with something that would be best termed a spam site.

Today I have disabled cross-posting to Google+ in Blogger preferences and deleted all previous posts on Google+. I will take further measures later to limit visibility of my Google+ profile. I conducted some searches after deleting posts on Google+ and my real blog is now properly linked as the primary content.

I can see Google+ as a useful service for people who want micro-blogging, but who don't want to bother with self-hosting their content. The service is useful from that point of view. Google has nevertheless went way too far when it effectively enabled Blogger to conduct mass plagiarism in its default settings.

In not so distant future, Google search will be linking exclusively to Google pages. Before that distopian future comes true, I recommend disabling Google+ profile, removing +1 buttons, and avoiding Google search.

PS: Shortly after removing content from my Google+ account, readership of this blog jumped up. That should be enough of a reason for content creators to pull their content off Google+. But what's more important for me is that I can now present my ideas without being covered by ads head-to-toes.

PS2: Interestingly, this is the least frequently visited post on my blog. I am wondering whether Google has some algorithm that identifies Google+ bashing articles and downranks them in search results :-) Or is it the exclamation mark?

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