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Thread: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

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    Default Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    I've been really bummed out all day because of something Derek Powazek wrote. (Also, I made the mistake of watching this week's brilliant but melancholy Mad...
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    Mindgames's Avatar A guy who makes girls
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    Folks have been evangelizing the "One True Way" for years, and it's accepted fact that all the hits in the world mean zip to the company balance sheet if there's no content when you get there. You can make a site rank top with no content, but as he says if it's only there for artificial reasons, people hate you for it. To stay at the top, the content simply has to be better than the guy at #2 - nobody has a right to be in any particular slot, just like you only get space on Rodeo if you can sell enough pants to pay the rent.

    However I don't think Derek's being as anti-SEO as it sounds: he's anti- the idea of paying someone to do it for you, because if you run a website the "tools of SEO" should be obvious. A typist doesn't contract in a "key hitting consultant" to maximize their WPM, they just work at it. If you're dumb enough to make your entire site from images, the spiders will ignore you even if the images are amazing, but why would you pay some schmuck in a polyester suit to tell you that?

    The One True Way was how Google originally thought Google would work - the more links a page has pointing to it, clearly the more people think it's worth visiting. Of course as soon as you make a rule, people will exploit it; so pagerank is pretty much dead unless you're scoring over 8 these days, as the corporate hubs are weighting the stats. A terrible site can make itself a hundred inbound links by paying for them, a great site in a niche sector may only have 90 genuine mentions, but the Wiki on the same subject can have half a million - which is why it's always in the top 5.

    Not true about your search placement though - you're 1 and 2, Wiki's 3, and in at 7 is some dude selling pants.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    Isn't SEO the only reason why blueblood would not show up on a search for blue blood, though?

    It is a destructive phenominon. It's also an arms-race kind of thing that escalates a little further every time someone plays ball.

    'Course, if no one did it, bad sites wouldn't be getting hits, and since the people that create bad sites to make money often have no interest in changing this they've also got no reason to let good sites get the glory they deserve. Asking good sites not to resort to underhanded tactics and let their virtues be their own promotion may not work unless producing quality is those sites only interest, with zero stake in popularity. Which is a great position to take, but not always an affordable one.

    I'd look for change in the way search engines work, maybe, or alternate means of promotion.

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    Amelia G's Avatar chick in charge
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    Quote Originally Posted by Raza View Post
    Isn't SEO the only reason why blueblood would not show up on a search for blue blood, though?

    It is a destructive phenominon. It's also an arms-race kind of thing that escalates a little further every time someone plays ball.

    'Course, if no one did it, bad sites wouldn't be getting hits, and since the people that create bad sites to make money often have no interest in changing this they've also got no reason to let good sites get the glory they deserve. Asking good sites not to resort to underhanded tactics and let their virtues be their own promotion may not work unless producing quality is those sites only interest, with zero stake in popularity. Which is a great position to take, but not always an affordable one.

    I'd look for change in the way search engines work, maybe, or alternate means of promotion.
    Absolutely, SEO is the reason. But as neither BlueBlood.net nor BlueBlood.com is on the first page of Bing and BlueBlood.com is not on the first page of Google, then SEO is not serving up temporary results. When Bing first launched and nobody was SEOing for it, those sites were on the first page for a search for Blue Blood. Naturally.

    I felt like Derek's article was a beautiful lie. If what he wrote were true, my sites would almost always be at the top of the search engines for the obvious terms, except for an occasional SEO hiccup of a couple weeks. I wish what he wrote were true, but, in my experience, doing things the way he says they should be done, the search engines do not reward what they should.

    I absolutely look to alternate methods of promotion.

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    Amelia G's Avatar chick in charge
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    Quote Originally Posted by Mindgames View Post
    Folks have been evangelizing the "One True Way" for years, and it's accepted fact that all the hits in the world mean zip to the company balance sheet if there's no content when you get there. You can make a site rank top with no content, but as he says if it's only there for artificial reasons, people hate you for it. To stay at the top, the content simply has to be better than the guy at #2 - nobody has a right to be in any particular slot, just like you only get space on Rodeo if you can sell enough pants to pay the rent.

    However I don't think Derek's being as anti-SEO as it sounds: he's anti- the idea of paying someone to do it for you, because if you run a website the "tools of SEO" should be obvious. A typist doesn't contract in a "key hitting consultant" to maximize their WPM, they just work at it. If you're dumb enough to make your entire site from images, the spiders will ignore you even if the images are amazing, but why would you pay some schmuck in a polyester suit to tell you that?

    The One True Way was how Google originally thought Google would work - the more links a page has pointing to it, clearly the more people think it's worth visiting. Of course as soon as you make a rule, people will exploit it; so pagerank is pretty much dead unless you're scoring over 8 these days, as the corporate hubs are weighting the stats. A terrible site can make itself a hundred inbound links by paying for them, a great site in a niche sector may only have 90 genuine mentions, but the Wiki on the same subject can have half a million - which is why it's always in the top 5.

    Not true about your search placement though - you're 1 and 2, Wiki's 3, and in at 7 is some dude selling pants.

    BlueBlood.com never hits the first page of Google for Blue Blood.

    Both BlueBlood.com and BlueBlood.net were on the first page of search results for Bing when it launched. Now that there has been time for SEO, neither one does. Even though Bing obviously is aware of the sites and thinks BlueBlood.net is important enough to advertise their search engine on it.

    Some writers used to use Dictaphones and hand off their work to key hitting consultants or "secretaries". That was the whole function of the tool. Today, there are digital recorders, although fewer people can afford such assistance and more people are able to hit the keys themselves.

    Can you post some sites with a PR 8 please. I'm curious what they look like.

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    ForrestBlack's Avatar Administrator
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia G View Post
    I absolutely look to alternate methods of promotion.
    I think one of the things people don't understand is that there are all sorts of arcane arbitrary rules and these days it does take an SEO expert/consultant to help teach a site what to do to avoid the pitfalls.

    I used to help companies place well in the search engines by adjusting their site structure, using words instead of graphics, fixing up their meta tags, encouraging them to put useful and relevant information on their sites like product tutorials and manuals and such. It used to work really well and there wasn't anything underhanded about it. It was just about clear informative structure. However, eventually some folks started bringing guns to the knife fight. Now it takes more work and much more understanding of the rules of the day.

    For example, affiliate links seem to count heavily against a site, while regular links under some conditions count for the site. The layperson isn't going to just know that. Sites that link out to too many things on a given page are dinged hard too.

    So, a good blog that links up it's actual subject matter too much is penalized and a site that shares 50% of any sales with anyone that wants to help link it up is also penalized. Normal people just doing the right thing wouldn't know that and it's kind of insulting to be called a spammer, evildoer, and opportunist for considering hiring someone who may have some current expertise in the area. It doesn't mean you are actually doing anything underhanded at all.

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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia G View Post
    Absolutely, SEO is the reason. But as neither BlueBlood.net nor BlueBlood.com is on the first page of Bing and BlueBlood.com is not on the first page of Google, then SEO is not serving up temporary results. When Bing first launched and nobody was SEOing for it, those sites were on the first page for a search for Blue Blood. Naturally.

    I felt like Derek's article was a beautiful lie. If what he wrote were true, my sites would almost always be at the top of the search engines for the obvious terms, except for an occasional SEO hiccup of a couple weeks. I wish what he wrote were true, but, in my experience, doing things the way he says they should be done, the search engines do not reward what they should.

    I absolutely look to alternate methods of promotion.
    Iunno; I imagine that there might simply be 100 crap sites for every relevant one out there. The results of their SEO may well be temporary, but if they only ever make space for the next wave of their own kind you still wouldn't be able to tell. Spam/scam sites have no reason to play the long term - they get outed, blocked, filtered, booked up and blacklisted anyway - and they're not memorable enough to tell apart by anything but the level of sophistication in their tricks, either. All they need to do is collect a few waves of victims' money or personal info, and then they go down and pop up with a new face and domain two weeks later with a profit.

    Sites investing real-people reputation and quality content may lose more than they gain by playing that game, topping search results for a few weeks but hurting their image in the eyes of everyone who caught the spam or getting their page rank torpedoed permanently as search engines adjust to whatever tactic they applied. Different game, different criteria for success.


    That's my guess, anyway.

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    Mr Karl's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    oh well, your one of the few consistent things on the planet................that's a good thing

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    Mindgames's Avatar A guy who makes girls
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia G View Post
    BlueBlood.com never hits the first page of Google for Blue Blood.
    There's a logical reason for that - BB.net has 37,000 pages indexed, BB.com has 200, and only 50 inbound references (most of which are discounted by Googlebot as they trip the affiliate test). Also, the homepage of BB.com has terrible keyword density (because it's a splash) and no header tags, whereas BB.net has loads of bot-attractive stuff on it including multiple uses of the phrase, RSS and proper headers.

    If the forums ran on the .com domain, you'd be #1 on every search you wanted - but as far as the bots are concerned, there's nothing of interest on the .com and nobody other than affiliates talking about it. Sorry and all.

    Most major corporate / media sites have PR over 8 (M$ = 9, Dell = 8, CNN = 10, BBC = 9, etc) and the Library of Congress is 9 if you want something suitably deserving of it. Brands like McDs used to have an 8, but their new site isn't properly crawlable so they dipped - also as the brand is a global identifier, Google doesn't use PR to display it - even if they had zero PR they'd still be #1 on the results because they're searched for so many times. Same for words like "windows" or "apple" - you'll never see a construction firm or fruit farmer on the top slot even if someone got themselves a 10.

    In the adult sector homepage scores are mostly low because of age checker splashes - Playboy is a 6, but Hustler's is a big fat zero because it screwed up the redirects. Individual pages within a site can sometimes score higher if an external site links to them, but Google knows the difference between a linkfarm and a human.


    Remember if someone's logged in to a Google account, they have "promote" and "comment" buttons on each search result, so there is opportunity for human interaction with the rankings - however very few people even notice the icons, never mind use them.

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    ForrestBlack's Avatar Administrator
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    Thank you for your insights Mindgames, but would you consider yourself a layperson when it comes to all that analysis? Would you consider that advice evildoings?

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    Mindgames's Avatar A guy who makes girls
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    Quote Originally Posted by ForrestBlack View Post
    Thank you for your insights Mindgames, but would you consider yourself a layperson when it comes to all that analysis? Would you consider that advice evildoings?

    I wouldn't call any of that "professional" - the stats came from a Firefox plugin with three clicks, and what HTML should look like to keep spiders happy is (hopefully) common knowledge for anyone who runs a website these days - Google's help pages go to enough trouble to tell everyone what it's looking for and what it'll penalize. It's like putting an ad in Yellow Pages - everyone knows the due who runs "AAAAAAA taxis" will be on page 1, and is only there because he saw someone do it in last year's edition and copied them.

    There's no way I'd ever charge someone for the sort of stuff I posted above - I may be in the minority but I'd consider it insulting to their intelligence if I sold them something they can find out for free in 30 seconds. Is it the Toolbox of Evil? Only if the site you're trying to promote has crap content. Awesome sites that make a few little mistakes and drop off the results are IMO "deserving" of their original position, so fixing the error is a good thing. Artificially bumping up the importance of a page solely to get in the top ten is not.


    Take the McD's site as an example - looking at it, it's not all that great (I've seen gradeschoolers do better page design) - but if I search for McDonalds it's always #1, and I'm fine with that as 99% of the time that's what I would be looking for - if I wanted Jimmy McDonald the voiceover man, I'd expect to have to type in something more specific. If however I typed in "fine cuisine" I wouldn't expect to see the golden arches anyplace on the screen, so I'd be annoyed if they tried to hijack those keywords or spammed forums with that intent.

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    Amelia G's Avatar chick in charge
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    You can say that someone running a web site should know how to structure pages for Google, but that is exactly making a site for robots, as opposed to just making one for people. It may be the job and that's fine, and ideally someone who creates a site does both. But I object to anyone saying that everyone should just make good sites with good content that people want and the searches will come. Because it does not work that way.

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    Mindgames's Avatar A guy who makes girls
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    It's true that you can easily build a site that humans find awesome but the spiders treat as empty - you just use images and Flash - however I think the obverse is the important thing - sites that code solely to get top results but don't deliver on the promise are the disease that's making it difficult for the good ones to get a foot in the door. If people really like a site they'll talk about it, blog about it, and so on - it will become noticed by the engines - but spiders are forced to be massively paranoid about the links they find because so many people are fcking about with the system, so it takes a significant groundswell of "other people" talking to get a site in the top ten - or more importantly the right other people. Googlebot will take whole heap of notice if you're mentioned once on the CNN homepage, but doesn't give a crap about pages of stuff on LJ or Myface as everyone else is spamming those sites 24/7.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia G View Post
    You can say that someone running a web site should know how to structure pages for Google, but that is exactly making a site for robots, as opposed to just making one for people. It may be the job and that's fine, and ideally someone who creates a site does both. But I object to anyone saying that everyone should just make good sites with good content that people want and the searches will come. Because it does not work that way.

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    Amelia G's Avatar chick in charge
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    CNN does not give home page links. They generally have no links in stories whatsoever. Googlebot thinks CNN is extra-important for being insular in this way.

    It is supposed to be the World Wide Web, which suggests interlocking sites woven together. For search engines to be the most powerful controllers of human knowledge, however, they would prefer sites not link to one another excessively.

    Links in and people talking are, of course, how everyone finds sites of interest. Which is why the search engines being capricious about some of my sites, because they are made for people and not for robots, does not mean nobody finds them. Just fewer people than are looking because some people will use search.

    I don't care for Flash design myself, but humans can enjoy a Flash site just fine. So the reason not to have all images or all Flash would be once again to please robots and not to please humans.

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    Mindgames's Avatar A guy who makes girls
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia G View Post
    I don't care for Flash design myself, but humans can enjoy a Flash site just fine. So the reason not to have all images or all Flash would be once again to please robots and not to please humans.

    No - it's because if a search engine can't read a page, neither can accessibility tools. People can't change font sizes and contrast, screenread the text or access-key the links. It won't reflow (or display at all, if you're using Flash) on mobile devices, and it takes 20 times longer to load an image of a word than the word itself, which annoys anyone on wifi or cellular data plans. It doesn't matter how many of a site's readership need those features, the fact they're not there is increasingly obvious to everyone and makes the designer look like they don't give a crap.

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    Amelia G's Avatar chick in charge
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    Perhaps SEO is becoming less esoteric knowledge and more and more people may be aware of how to design for robots, but that doesn't change the fact that just doing a good job on the content for humans won't make one rank well in the search engines.

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    Mr Karl's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    well, when the robots take control, they might overlook you then

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    Mindgames's Avatar A guy who makes girls
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    In general I agree - but there are the notable exceptions that trigger the public interest (like the Million Dollar Homepage guy) - he was #1 all over the place, but the page itself was just a grid of icons so the robots hated it. Humans linked to him like mad, partly because the offline media made a story out of it; and even in the online world, getting your name onto the TV or news media is often the trigger to a major bump in ranking, just from the bloggers discussing if you exist or not. Our marketing guys call it third-screen convergence, and (though I hate to swear) the best protagonists in the alt/adult sector are SuiGirls - name any other real website that's been central to a CSI episode.

    That's kinda what I meant earlier about getting your name on the CNN homepage - you'll never get an active link, but if they (or an episode of Family Guy) even vaguely mention you by name, tens of thousands of people will pop open a browser and go look. SG got far more rank from all the CSI fansites and TV schedule listings that had to mention them in the plot summaries, which Googlebot likes, than they'd ever be able to afford to buy in as affiliate links.

    It's almost worth getting arrested for ramming a rutabaga up Simon Cowell's ass, so you can turn up to court in a BB hoodie.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia G View Post
    Perhaps SEO is becoming less esoteric knowledge and more and more people may be aware of how to design for robots, but that doesn't change the fact that just doing a good job on the content for humans won't make one rank well in the search engines.

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    Amelia G's Avatar chick in charge
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    I only put rutabagas in the asses of people I like ;-p

    Can you explain what you mean by merely being talked about in TV helps in Google or Bing? It seems to me that, if a site doesn't hit the first page of results, television outreach is kind of a waste of resources. I mean, if they say the whole domain.com name of the site, then that will help Alexa and Quantcast, but how would it assist search?

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    Mindgames's Avatar A guy who makes girls
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    Default Re: Spammers, Evildoers, and Opportunists

    It depends on what you're called - for example if Amelia G sat across from Jon Stewart, folks that liked what you were saying (or how you looked) would Google that name, and that'd get them to your personal site as #1, BB.net as #2. Google pays attention to how many times a site returns as #1, and lessens the paranoia about link networks accordingly. The searching isn't in itself the important thing; it's the fact fans of the show will start using the phrase in their sites, and some of them will link - Google loves the non-affiliate nature of links that emerge like that - the meme effect in action. Sometimes it'll go the other way (Leeroy Jenkins!) and TV will pick it up as a cool thing to say because the Web's doing it, even though they have no clue why.

    If BlueBlood was shoehorned into a story (say about the popularity of tattoos, or the reason urban rooftops are the single most important shooting locations on the planet) people will search for that instead. If you were called "Sindy Smith" and ran a site called "Interesting Photos", your chances of being found would be screwed - but you'd be screwed anyways. Of course at the moment any search for BB returns the "wrong one", but that's a unique problem. The goal in all this convergence stuff is to get people to advertise you without thinking of it as an ad - the viral equivalent of the folks that wear BB hoodies.

    Naturally, appearing on The Daily Show is extremely likely, as you, Miss Amelia G, are officially the 1540th most popular entertainer on the Web and as funny as Ben Stein - though you've dipped recently. Get those tits out and tell a joke!

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