Two posts in a day - but I’ve got a lot to talk about today
Google has finally defused Google Bombing.
We’ve all had a good laugh over the past few years doing a Google “I’m Feeling Lucky” search for “French Military Victories” and coming up with a fake Google error page suggesting “Don’t you mean French Military Defeats?”… Or searching for “Miserable Failure” and coming up with George W. Bush’s biography page on the Whitehouse site.
But a recent algorithm change has meant these sites no longer rank in the top echelons of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) on Google.
This is interesting / important for people selling online for two reasons..
But to understand them, let me give you SEO 101 on how it works.
Google understands that there’s value in the text that people use when they’re linking to you.
That’s because Google understands that you can assume a lot about a web-site based on how other people are linking to your web-site.
For example, if you see a link which uses the anchor text “Freelance Copywriter“, then it would be fair to assume that by clicking on the link you would end up on the web-site of a freelance copywriter.
And as a result, “the Big G” assigns a certain amount of value to the text which is used to link to your web-site.
(This is the really simple Search Engine Optimisation 101 explanation).
In “defusing the Google Bomb”, Google has changed its algorithm so that it no longer treats links in the same way that it used to.
My immediate suspicion is that the algorithm now looks more closely at three factors:
- Whether a site seems to be receiving a whole bunch of links, over and over again, using the same link text, and;
- When / how fast all of these links came in,
- …and possibly the context of the pages/sites on which the links appear…
If Google is able to find a measurable spike in inbound links which doesn’t look natural, or sees the same links appearing over and over again, it’s a good sign that something is amiss…
…Someone is SEO’ing their site to try and manipulate Google and get a temporary advantage in SERPs. And the guys at Google [read: they're-smarter-than-you] like Matt Cutts don’t like to be manipulated.
There are two things you should take out of this if you’re running a business with an online presence:
- If your competitors have invested in some SEO - and their SEO expert’s strategy is based around getting a temporary advantage in SERPs by exploiting a few weaknesses in Google’s algorithm (which is, in my opinion, bad SEO)… then they are probably going to be less competitive in SERPs now.(Especially if their strategy involved getting a whole stack of text links using one particular search term)
- If you’re doing any SEO work now, it would be wise to reconsider your linking strategy, and whether it at least looks like natural in-bound links from Google’s perspective.It’s even more important now that your inbound links don’t look like link spam.
Natural SEO, organic SEO, is where it’s at.
Helping your web-site to grow on its own merits rather than trying to push it to be something that it aint’.
- 8:02pm, Monday 29th January 2007 - Spending some time fishing through my backlog of blog posts in my feed reader, and I came across a comment made by Alek Komarnitsky on Matt Cutts blog which suggests a better way of detecting Google Bomb spam. “Ahhhhh … so my guess at the algorithm tweaks would be if the target URL has tons of off-page optimization for a certain keyphrase, but very little (or no) on-page optimization for that same phrase, then it might fit the signature of a GoogleBomb and lets look a bit closer at it.” (link)This would be a much better way of detecting Google Bomb spam than the method I initially assumed as it wouldn’t (in most cases) receive false positives from other sites… And if you read Matt Cutts comments, it seems he all but nods, winks and says “got it in one pal!”.
…See - the guys at Google are smarter than us (or at least me).