If Google was in charge of your local library…

google libraryThanks to my nifty NSA-Lite smartphone app, I was able to record the following conversation between two Googlebots as they set about reviewing and reorganizing the books at my local library.

(Don’t worry, after this short, light-hearted detour I’ll get back to my usual posts on writing for the web and freelancing next week. And yes, for the technically minded among you, I do know the Googlebot doesn’t judge the quality of the web pages it finds and indexes. Poetic license.)

Googlebot 1: Unbelievable! It must have been literally months since anyone last checked out the contents of this library.

Googlebot 2: I hear you dude. How can they possibly maintain quality without checking for what’s new at least once a day?

Googlebot 1: Agreed. The whole place looks like a pretty sad dump to me. Anyway, let’s get started. Here’s a dusty-looking volume: 1984 by George Orwell. What have we got on this?

Googlebot 2: Wow. Published in 1949!

Googlebot 1: Ouch. That doesn’t sound good. How about this George Orwell guy?

Googlebot 2: Let me see. Well, for one thing, he’s dead. So he doesn’t have a Google+ profile, which is a definite black mark. Whoa, George Orwell wasn’t even his real name! His real name was Eric Arthur Blair. Sneaky dog, trying to trick us with a pen name. Mega black mark for that!

Googlebot 1: Any social signals at all?

Googlebot 2: Not really. A few people mention it here and there. But nothing trending.

Googlebot 1: Doesn’t sound good at all. How about updates? Anything fresh about it? Maybe some new chapters? Photos of squirrels? Video clips?

Googlebot 2: Nope. It’s 100% old. 0% on the fresh-o-meter.

Googlebot 1: Pathetic. OK, into the garbage bin.

Googlebot 2: Hmmm…here’s one: Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. It’s a “play”. No idea what that even means.

Googlebot 1: And?

Googlebot 2: Pretty much the same as the Orwell dude. This guy is dead too. Nothing on social. Nothing new. Nothing fresh. No multimedia.

Googlebot 1: Anything to recommend it?

Googlebot 2: I don’t think so. Actually, it’s even worse than the last one. For a start, it’s short, less than 100 pages. And it just goes on and on, without chapters, headings or subheads. No page breaks at all. One dude says one thing, another dude says something else and it’s like that from beginning to end.

Googlebot 1: Am I hearing skinny content, hard to read, no multimedia, no social signals and just totally old?

Googlebot 2: That’s about it.

Googlebot 1: OK. Garbage. Next?

Googlebot 2: Hang on, I’m just chucking out a ton of other authors who fail miserably for all the same reasons. Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Emily Bronte. Oh boy, I can’t believe all this junk is still on the shelves.

Googlebot 1: Sounds like we got here just in time.

Googlebot 2: You got that right. Wait a sec, this looks a little more promising. Until the End of Time by Danielle Steele. Seems really popular. It’s long too, over 300 pages. Tons of reviews. Published in January 2013. It’s fresh, baby!

Googlebot 1: And what about the author?

Googlebot 2: Super-prolific. Consistently creating fresh content. Reasonably connected through social media. Seems to be hot in Pinterest and Twitter.

Googlebot 1: Popular?

Googlebot 2: Totally! Over 800 million copies of her books sold! Plus a ton of movies!

Googlebot 1: Well, 800 million people can’t be wrong.

Googlebot 2: Agreed. I’m seeing fresh, easy to read and massively popular. The readers have spoken!

Googlebot 1: Finally we have a winner. Let’s pile them up high on that table by the front door.

Googlebot 2: Another good day’s work, dude.

Googlebot 1: Absolutely. Done no evil here!

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.

Writing for the Web

If you found this post helpful, sign up for my e-newsletter and get a free copy of my 35-page guide…

Writing For The Web #1 — 7 Challenges every Writer and Copywriter faces when writing for the Web.

Sign up and I’ll send you the link for the download, and then you’ll receive my most recent post as part of my e-newsletter every Tuesday morning.

Sign Up for my Excess Voice Newsletter…


(Your email address will be used only for the purpose of sending you this newsletter, and you’ll be free to unsubscribe at any time.)

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest

7 thoughts on “If Google was in charge of your local library…

  1. Great Google parody, Nick. Don’t stop, keep ranting. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

    I wonder how the Holy Bible would fare…

    Good-length book, over 1,000 pages, but no known single date of original edition. Last authorised translation into English completed in 1611 – ancient. However, has never been out of print, and remains the most read text ever, selling millions of copies every year. Has been a favourite of Hollywood since the silent movies.

    No single author, but myriad contributors, now deceased – not unlike Wikipedia, without the sources of provenance. Good links to sub-texts such as the Book of Common Prayer, multiple collections of hymns and various Church calendars and orders of service.

    Said to represent the Word of God who, being eternal, still survives in the form of a Holy Trinity – but none of whom has written a sequel. Superb profile, however – encompasses the whole of the world-wide web, and all other wwws that might exist – cry your hearts out Google and Facebook.

    Nicely structured text for SEO. It’s divided into 2 Testaments, 66 separate books, and multiple chapters and verses, with loads of headings and sub-headings. Both sentences and paragraphs are generally pretty short, but not a lot of white space on the page.

    Excellent social criteria – weekly world-wide gatherings totalling millions of people. Multimedia broadcasts of webinars, both audio and video. Some people even claim to experience virtual links – Wi-Fi images known as visions- to God’s son or his four bloggers.

    Whether or not the Holy Bible would rank top in Google’s search results probably doesn’t matter a great deal – its readers will still queue up to buy it as they don’t worship solely at the altar of Larry Page, who incidentally should be a devout reader of the first of the two Testaments.

Leave a Comment