A very interesting article I found via hackernews and that I thought reflected many of the gripes I also have about the modern web:
I wanted to figure out why exactly the internet is getting worse. What’s going on with Google’s algorithm that leads to such a monotonous, boring, corporate internet landscape? I thought I’d dig into search engine optimization (SEO) — essentially, techniques that improve a website’s ranking in Google searches. I’d always thought SEO was better at selling itself than it was at improving search results, but my god was I wrong.
SEO techniques are extremely potent, and their widespread adoption is what’s wrong with the modern web.
For example, have you ever noticed that the main content of most websites is something like 70% down the page? Every recipe site I’ve ever seen is like this — nobody cares about how this recipe was originally your great-grandmother’s. Just tell us what’s in it. Why is this so prevalent on the web?
What I dream of is Google circa 2006. A time where a search engine searched what you asked for. A time before aggressive SEO. A time before social media, when the only people on the internet had a reason to be there. A time before sticky headers and full-screen modal pop-ups asking you to subscribe to a newsletter before reading the article. A time before click-bait and subscription-only websites which tease you with a paragraph before blurring out the rest of the content.