Besides the Hummingbird update, one of the more recent updates to the Google Algorithm is the Mugshot Update. Recently Google made an update to its algorithm to exclude, for the most part, mug shot websites from appearing in Google search results. It hasn’t been foolproof, but it’s been pretty effective. (If you aren’t familiar with mugshot websites, it’s basically a form of extortion where these website owners find mugshots of citizens when they are arrested, optimize them well to appear in Google search results for someone’s name, and charge anywhere from $50-$500 to have the mugshot removed.)
One of the biggest industries this will affect is the reputation management industry, which is often called upon to help remove these posts from search results by burying them with other content. Unfortunately, the cost for creating and deploying all of this content can run high, though at least it is not being paid to those who created the mugshot websites. The reputation management industry will survive though, as there are plenty of other ways arrest records and other negative posts appear in search results.
The Bigger Question – Is Google Controlling the Internet?
How Much Should Google Control?
Google has now universally decided that mug shot results aren’t relevant. Not even if you’re a potential employer. Not even if you’re screening a babysitter. Google believes they know what you want. What other industries do they do this with? Honestly, we can’t be 100% sure.
Now, understand that I’m not in favor of the Mugshot sites. It’s basically legalized extortion. I also believe that most people deserve a second chance, which is why I entertain inquiries for reputation management at all. But the fact that Google has announced it wants to control the sites that you see can be a little scary.
What do you think? Are you comfortable with changes like this to Google’s algorithm? What sites would you want to see blocked?