Spammers have been trying to fool the search engines for years. Trouble is, no one except the search engines know how web sites are ranked in their result lists. Consequently, dozens upon dozens of different tactics have been employed to try and get web sites to rank well.
This is changing.
Google’s PageRank™ Algorithm Public
Today Google’s site ranking algorithm was made public via a public patent filing. This will change lots of things, but not in the ways some people might expect. As it turns out, Google’s algorithms are set up in such a way that makes it incredibly difficult to spam the index with the kinds of techniques spammers are currently notorious for.
Now my first thought was “oh great, now every manipulative marketer on the block is going to abuse this info,” but if you look closely you’ll see that if they, in fact, followed these site rank guidelines to their best advantage, their site will become less of a link farm, less of a re-blog, less of a link exchange, less of a faux landing page. And who knows, maybe some more useful content will be generated out of this. [via Jordan Rule]
I’m sincerely hoping that will happen. Just today, I’ve received over three hundred spam comments on my blog from various spammers attempting to raise their rankings with backlinks and targetted anchor text. None of them made it through to the site past my moderation system, but the point is they tried and I had to clean up the mess.
Ethical Internet Marketing Increases Google PageRank
The spammers and the search engines have always been caught in a perpetual arms race. With Google’s ranking algorithm public knowledge, in what direction will the balance of power tip? Does this give the spammers a bigger, juicier target?
I’m inclined to believe that, in fact, this is bad for spammers because it’s good for everyone else. I think this is good for SEO professionals and marketing folk because now we know precisely what works and what doesn’t (and what works discourages spamming) and good for web searchers because more content will be findable. In other words honest SEO works better than spamming, and now we can prove it.
This doesn’t mean spammers will stop what they’re doing, or won’t find new ways of abusing the algorithm, of course. However, it does give every honest internet marketing agency the validation they deserve, and now it also gives them a broader set of tools with which to work. I, for one, can already think of several enhancements I can make to my site to get better rankings—and none of them involve spam.
What You Should Do to Rank Better in Google
Darren Yates proclaims that
the days of Spamming Google are drawing to a close. Some of the facets of Google’s algorithm were somewhat obvious, but some of them were very surprising. For instance:
- The longer the duration you have registered your domain name for, the better pages in your domain will rank.
- If links to your site propogate around the Web too quickly your pages will rank worse. (Be very careful who you exchange links with.)
- Fewer higher-quality in-bound links with varying anchor text will make your site rank better than many in-bound links with identical anchor text. (That’s considered “anchor spam” and can take months to recover from.)
- Delivering regular, fresh content is not ncessarily a requirement for every site to rank well. Whether or not your site should update regularly depends on your market. The idea is to keep information accurate and reliable, regardless of how old it may be chronologically.
- Site click through rates are monitored from a variety of sources including the Google Toolbar and Desktop Search products, as well as the Google web site. The amount of time it takes for a visitor to return to Google after a click-through is also an indicator of the quality of content; the stickier you make your site, the better.
- The whois records for your domain name are checked for consistency between the technical and administrative contacts since these records are often faked for spam domains. Make sure the proper information appears in your domain name registration.
- If your web site is hosted on a shared server, then you share the same IP address as (potentially) thousands of other web site owners. If even one of them gets caught for spamming, you get penalized as well since you share the same Internet address.
The bottom line, however, is to ensure that a site grows as organically as possible. Make sure you register new domain names for a minimum of at least two years (I’d recommend three or more), be very careful who you exchange links with, vary your anchor text, and depending on your market, make sure to add chunks of high-quality content to your site every so often.
Finally, make your site is as “sticky” as possible. Encourage visitors to bookmark your pages and to return regularly. It is far more beneficial for a site to get a small amount of repeat traffic than an influx of traffic that never returns.