There’s been a swine flu of stupidity spreading about the Murdoch meme of blocking Google (GOOG) from indexing a site’s content (to which Google always replies that you’ve always been able to do that with robots.txt – so go ahead if you want). I love that The Reach Group (TRG), a German consulting company, has quantified just how damaging that would be to Google: hardly at all.
TRG took the content of the 1,000 domains controlled by the 148 German publishers that signed the so-called Hamburg Declaration (a veiled shot at Google) and analyzed how critical they are to Google search results. TRG asked the question: “How empty would the first 10 Google search results be if one could no longer find anything from the 148 German publishers?”
It’s quite another matter if Wikipedia were not there. It appears on 13% of first-page results. That is, one entity – Wikipedia – is on the treasured first page almost three times as often as all of Germany’s top publishers. How does one say this in German? Yow.
This chart shows that sites of the Hamburg Declaration publishers have 5% share of a position on the first page of search results:
This chart shows that Wikipedia has 13% share of the No. 1 position in search results:
TRG further notes that Wikipedia represents only 0.01% of pages in the Google index – vs. 4.01% for German publishers – yet even so, Wikipedia pages clearly get more clicks and links and thus, Googlejuice.
RELATED: Jason Calicanis fantasizes about Microsoft (MSFT) paying The New York Times (NYT) to leave Google’s index for Bing. Let me explain why that would never happen. 1. The Times is not stupid. 2. Times subsidiary About.com – the only bright spot these days in the NYTimesCo’s P&L – gets 80% of its traffic and 50% of its revenue from Google. 3. See rule No. 1.
Michael Arrington then joined in the fantasy saying that News Corp. (NWS) could change the balance by shifting to Bing, but ends his post with his own reality check: MySpace – increasingly a disaster in News Corp’s P&L – is attempting to negotiate its $300 million deal with Google.
Microsoft can suck up to European publishers all it wants – even adopting their ACAP “standard,” which no one in the search industry is saluting because, as Google often points out, it addresses the desires only of a small proportion of sites and it would end up aiding spammers – but it won’t make a damned bit of difference.
As Erick Schonfeld reports, also on TechCrunch, if WSJ.com turned off Google it would lose 25% of its web traffic. He quotes Hitwise, which says 15% comes from Google search, 12% from Google News – and 7% from Drudge (aggregator), and 2% from Real Clear Politics (aggregator). From HItwise:
But so what if News Corp does withdraw from Google? So what, indeed? Will other publishers join? No, they’ll celebrate the chance to grab more juice. If I saw any publishers pull out, I’d run at the chance to create topic pages to grab the little juice they have.
SEE ALSO: This analysis from The Internet Marketing Driver showing the importance of Google, Facebook, and Yahoo (YHOO) in driving audience to many sites. What they then do with that audience is then up to them. According to the imperatives of the link economy, it is up to he or she who gets the links to monetize them.
[Hat tip to friend Wolfgang Blau for twittering the TRG link. If I mistranslated, please corrected me.]