The Chink in Google's Armor

by Kurt
17 replies
While this is about Google, it affects ALL webmasters, so I put this thread here instead of the SEO forum.

While Google's slogan may be "Do no evil", they greatly encourage others to do their evil for them. They remind me of a pimp that sits back and makes money, while all the street walkers do the work, get beat up and get arrested, while the pimp counts his money.

What I'm talking about is Google's importance on links. While the theory of PR and link popularity is a good one, the reality is it's turning those of us into SEO into link whores.

We all must go out and get links to have a chance at Google traffic. And in order to get links, we need to be on others' sites.

99% of all the link spam in your forums and blogs is due to this simple point, that Google will reward a person if they get links. And this is now greatly affecting many, many inncocent bystanders that run forums and blogs, who are becoming the collateral damage.

I wonder if there may be a "revolt" against this in the future? Truth is, if Google didn't reward this behavior, there would be far less incentive for anyone to spam your forum or blog.

We can keep coming up with anti-link spam measures, but it will never end as long as Google keeps rewarding folks to link spam.
#armor #chink #google
  • Profile picture of the author LIndaB
    Excellent points, Kurt. I've always thought there was something inherently wrong with classifying the value of sites based on links. Maybe way back when, the best sites got the most links. It's been a very long time since most webmasters linked to other sites based on value alone, rather than what they were getting from it. The idea that webmasters just altruistically link to good content seems hopelessly naive to what has actually occurred over the years. Google's algorithm and huge reliance on links as an indicator of value has definitely contributed to the amount of link spam on the internet. Unfortunately, no one has really come up with a better mathematical algorithm to determine the value and authority of a site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael D
    Not only that they always preach "content is king!". Of course they want the best content to show up for their users. The problem is that quality content alone is hard to get noticed for every single keyword you are trying to rank for and many times it won't. That is why we have to take it in our own hands.

    The problem is there isn't really a better way to rank sites. In theory they are ranked by "popularity". How does a site become popular? By many other sites linking to it. I just can't think of a fair and better way at the moment to rank a site. Sure, it would be nice if the best content were always number 1 from a users prospective, but no computer can calculate this. It would have to have some kind of voting done by everybody which would lead to more gaming of the system.
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  • Profile picture of the author timpears
    No matter what structure is put in place, someone will always find a way to take advantage of it. Congress continues to make new laws and regulations, and criminals and scam artists continue to figure ways around them and profit, so congress has to modify the laws again.

    Personally, I don't have too many complaints about the current system. At least we have a general idea on how it works, so we know what we have to do to succeed. I often see signatures here at Warrior Forum that interesst me and I click on them. Would they have posted if the system was not as it was? Who knows, but possibly not. So, in general it works. I am not complaining.
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    Tim Pears

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    • Profile picture of the author Bondtana
      I'm just glad that the site I have been backlinking for has good content. Just in case the backlink floor drops out from underneath all us backlinkers.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by timpears View Post

      No matter what structure is put in place, someone will always find a way to take advantage of it. ..
      The difference is these are exploits on innocent third parties. Google's the one profiting, they're the ones that should be "exploited", not joe schmoe's blog.
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      • Profile picture of the author timpears
        Kurt, I get your point. But, I come down on SurviveUnemployment's side. He said it better than I did I think. The SPAMers just have to be dealt with and most blogs and forums do that by deleting them. We can exploit Google's system by contributing decent content to forums and blogs with our signature. As long as we leave quality content, everyone benefits.

        I am not an expert, but that is my opinion and probably worth what you paid for it. And I share it without any signature.
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        Tim Pears

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        • Profile picture of the author Kurt
          Originally Posted by timpears View Post

          Kurt, I get your point. But, I come down on SurviveUnemployment's side. He said it better than I did I think. The SPAMers just have to be dealt with and most blogs and forums do that by deleting them. We can exploit Google's system by contributing decent content to forums and blogs with our signature. As long as we leave quality content, everyone benefits.

          I am not an expert, but that is my opinion and probably worth what you paid for it. And I share it without any signature.
          Actually, that's not my point. I do the same. I will trade a link for a decent post any day. NO argument on that point.

          And, I probably know about as many linking techniques and have as many auto linking software programs as anyone. This present system favors me more than the average person.

          But the point is, webmasters are getting tired of the spam and the root of the link spam is Google. What I do and you do isn't really relevant.

          Why is there such a big trend to use "no follow"? We're constantly reading about another big 2.0 site going to nofollow. It's because they are being spammed to death.

          While onpage seo and linking should be part of the algo, truth is, "People Rank" (a phrase I coined years ago) is the most effective way of ranking pages.

          While "People Rank" could be exploited, so can all the other methods, as posted above.

          But gauging real human behavior is far more accurate, especially when the data is collected by those using the Googlebar, where they can track everything a person does, such as how long they stay on a page, do they click though the site or click the back button after 10 seocnds....How far down a page do they scroll and how fast. Do they bookmark the site or type in the URL? Has a person visited the site before?

          All this data is easily collected through the Googlebar. And each Googlebar can be "branded" so you can't use proxies to hide IPs, as it won't matter.

          All the above are at least as good an indication of the quality of the page as is link pop, and link pop is becoming less and less reliable. For a few hundred dollars, you can buy a link spam program that will collect you links 24-7. Not sure this is a good way to judge quality.

          In addition, Google could well afford to pay human reviews to check the SERPs of their 100,000 to 1,000,000 more profitable keyword searches. They dont' have to look at every page, only the top 10-20 for their "money" searches.

          The truth is, any alog will never be as good at judging quality as will real humans.

          But we're getting off topic...The point is, I'm seeing more and more webmasters getting madder and madder over being spamed. Whether they can just delete the spam is irrelevant. And those of us that rely on getting links from their sites had better be prepared to deal with it.
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  • Even if Google didn't award brownie points for links, people would still spam your forums and blogs. The fact that Google places value on relevance encourages building links by visiting blogs and leaving thoughtful comments on related blogs. This would generally be a good thing for the blogsphere, no? People sort of having to visit each other's blogs and participate seems like a good thing.

    Just whack spam comments and keep the rest. I don't mind people using my blogs for link building as long as they're adding something to the discussion. Helps me too because the updated content and new words help me come up on more searches.
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  • Profile picture of the author GuerrillaIM
    What's the alternative? They have tried many things and each one gets abused.
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  • Profile picture of the author MisterMunch
    You are so right about this. I tuched the discussion in my last thread and it went bananas.

    The truth is that Google is the party that make us do this crazy backlinking all the time. It is impossible to get ranked without cheating a little. Leaving value or not is not really the issue. I think we are going to see some changes in the way sites are ranked in the short future. There are some smart engineers over at Google corp.

    So you have to options: Play it dirty and make some fast cash, or write good content and hope someone will find you.
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidTheMavin
    For years DoubleClick was considered adware by nearly all, but Google must not think so since they bought them a while back.

    They (all the major Internet co's) just got together and told the gov that they'll "self regulate". Sound familiar?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/02/bu...html?ref=media
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  • Profile picture of the author zen_affiliate
    Truth is, if Google didn't reward this behavior...

    This line of argument would prove that society obviously approves of all crime since not all criminals have been jailed.

    And if you were one of those nasty Tibetan dissidents "erased" by Google at the behest of the Chinese dictatorship, you wouldn't believe "Google"(nice when humans get to hide behind corporate entities) and that "..do no evil.." malarkey.

    "Google has agreed to filter out every aspect of Tibetan life that the Chinese government finds offensive, leaving only propaganda, misrepresentations, and outright lies about Tibet and Tibetans. It's amazing. The Tibetan people spent thousands of years developing their history and culture, and Google managed to make it disappear in little more than a year with only a few algorithms."
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by zen_affiliate View Post

      Truth is, if Google didn't reward this behavior...

      This line of argument would prove that society obviously approves of all crime since not all criminals have been jailed.

      "
      Faulty logic. All of society doesn't benefit from criminals. Most reasonable people would say just the opposite. Google does benefit from the "criminals".

      And two, you missed the point. This thread isn't about Google per se. It's about the site owners getting mad and realize that the real way to stop link spam is to have Google stop rewarding link spammers. There's going to be more and more "vigilantes", to use your analogy, and we need to get used to it.

      When Google first came on the scene, Hotbot either tied or beat Google in impartial search results test. Funny thing is, Hotbot (Inktomi) didn't use link pop to do so.

      But the press fell in love with the idea and really built Google, even though Alta Vista used link pop a year or two before Google even existed.

      #3 As more and more webmasters and bloggers start banning links or using nofollow, while others build more and more linking programs and strategies, Google's reliance on some form of link pop will become less and less accurate.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gary McCaffrey
    Google doesn't encourage spam, it discourages it. If it could find a way to discount spammy ill-gotten links it would. But thats a bit like a shopkeeper trying to find a way to stop accepting ill-gotten money.

    Just because a store will give you nice things in exchange for money, doesn't mean they are to blame for people using unethical means to get the money to buy the things the store sells.
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