More Blackhat BS

Discussion in 'Site / Search Engine Optimization' started by AussieDave, Apr 16, 2014.

  1.  
    AussieDave

    AussieDave 17 years & still going!

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    Just took a cruise over my main keywords. While I'm ranking in top 3 spots for my main target, I noticed a lot of Blackhat sites ranking below me.

    Unless we're all be stooged and the Google alog isn't as smart as we've been led to believe, then why the hell is this sh#t allowed to continue???

    Example:

    closier.nl/blog/?item=208&descr=spin-city-pokies (it's a framed doorway page) which get redirect from this site (Google cache):

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.c...r=spin-city-pokies+&cd=10&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au

    The above is full of gobbily goob text which makes no sense.

    If Google can't catch this stuff, then I think we're all being played by Cutts. Because if Google was as smart as we're led to believe, it would easily be able to flag this stuff!
     
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    PaaskeUK

    PaaskeUK Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Hi I would say yes you are correct in that that site might be ranking better. But would you as a gambler or new gambler for that sake even think about clicking any links on that site. Or actually use that site at all. I know for myself I would never go back to that site. Its quality over quality. It might buy them good ranking and shows well in searches. But wont last long and certainly no one would want to come back on their site when they find that kind of rubbish.
     
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    Online18Casino

    Online18Casino Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    We are getting hammered hard right now.. I have 2 sites now ranking above me for my key term, with one of them just popping up today. IDK what to say... That Google spam team really seems to not be doing a damn thing about it.
     
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    paulajardine

    paulajardine Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    It just seems to be getting worse each day instead of better.
     
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    inspiration

    inspiration Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    muffincrumbs

    muffincrumbs Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    At least it seems like they catch on eventually, and the bad sites seem to disappear pretty fast. Then the problem is they are replaced by more bad ones :(

    This will continue so long it does what is expected. No matter what conspiracy theories there are, the fact remains that is very likely they are intentionally making business owners use adwords to get traffic so that they can make more money from honest people.
     
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  7.  
    slotplayer

    slotplayer Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Despite raking in $15.4 billion, decreasing cost-per-click for the tech giant's search ads caused it to miss revenue and profitability estimates
    Google missed analyst expectations in its first quarterly earnings report of the year due to declining cost-per-click rates for its search ads and rising costs to ensure its search engine is used on various platforms. The tech giant brought in $15.4 billion in revenue, a 19 percent jump from a year earlier that still missed analyst expectations of $15.54 billion. Earnings per share were $6.27, off the mark from analyst expectations of $6.41 per share.
    The cost-per-click rate that Google charges businesses to place ads in its search engine was down 9 percent year-over-year, though it was flat compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. The figure had been tumbling during 2013 as more users transition to mobile devices, where Google is not able to charge as much for its ads. The downward trend in cost-per-click rates has affected the search industry as a whole.
    The company’s traffic acquisition costs, the money it pays to ensure that its search engine is the default in places like Apple’s Safari browser, also increased significantly, from $2.96 billion in the first quarter of 2013 to $3.23 billion in the most recent quarter.
     
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    Roulette Zeitung

    Roulette Zeitung Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Not only Google is flooded by black hat donkeys these days. Some guys hijacking Google News with thousands of (worthless -fake) "News" by redirectiong all clicks to a casino promotion website.

    One-Time-Wonders.

    Sometimes One-Month-Wonders.
    But at the end ... darkness [​IMG] ... as dark as a view in a black hat after sunset when the white rabbit is gone.

    We say in Germany: "Honesty is the best policy."

    Leopold
     
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    lalalaenhund

    lalalaenhund Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Protip: That's exactly what Matt Cutts is hired to do.

    Tell that to Google.
     
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    Vladi

    Vladi Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    As usual with Google there are loads of conspiracy theories that don't stack up in this thread. If you seriously believe that they would intentionally degrade the quality of their results to force people to use adwords (even in an industry like this that in most countries you can't) then I'd say you are crazy. The worse the results become, the more people will leave and use something else and the less money they will make on adwords. Ever heard of alta vista or yahoo?

    They determine rankings by algorithm so there is always going to be a way to exploit the algorithm. It is undoubtedly incredibly difficult to program an algorithm that detects and filters spam and determines the most relevant results for a search query across the entire web. And then the moment they put their algorithm out there they immediately have hundreds of thousands or millions of black hatters, and hundreds of millions of everyone else testing ways to beat it. So they are inevitably forced to keep changing and updating the same algorithm. And then consider that we're in an industry with potentially some of the most lucrative traffic which naturally attracts some of the world's greediest and most dishonest people. What do you think is going to happen?

    Google is not the bad guy here. The black hatters doing the wrong thing are. It's frustrating, I get that and it annoys me to be outranked by spammers too, but stupid conspiracy theories and moaning about how Google "isn't so smart" or the no doubt massively overworked spam team "is doing nothing" just sounds childish. If Google isn't so smart why don't you go and make your own search engine seeing as it must be so easy.
     
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    lalalaenhund

    lalalaenhund Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Ok Vladi, explain why you think they decided to make negative seo so easy and are doing nothing about it?
     
  12.  
    Vladi

    Vladi Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    First before I answer that let be clear that I am speaking as someone who owns a site that has been the victim of a deliberate, targeted, negative SEO attack in the past 12 months. So I know what it is like to be on the end of this and I know it sucks. It takes time, money and effort to discover all the wreckage and then when Google reviews your site they start pointing out all those other links you "acquired" years ago. That is what makes the attacks so effective. Blaming Google though would be like blaming Toyota if I was deliberately run over by someone driving one of their cars.

    Google obviously changed their algorithm and gave a heavier weight or penalty to bad links and thus made negative SEO possible or perhaps more powerful. It has created a mini industry of dickheads selling negative SEO services. Did their changes catch a lot of sites that were using dodgy linking practices? Yes. Did they also catch a lot of self-described "good" webmasters who knew better but were pushing the envelope anyway by buying and trading links just to keep up with or beat the competition who are all doing the same thing? Yes. As an aside you can probably count the number of gambling affiliate sites with more than 100 totally natural unsolicited backlinks on one hand, yours, mine, and everyone else on this forum included. I have seen respected affiliates on here and elsewhere like CasinoMeister and GPWA talk about "quality content" and "never bought a link blah blah" but when I examined their link profiles all I can say is *cough* bullshit *cough*. Did sites that had never bought a link or engaged in spammy practices get penalised? I have not seen any verifiable evidence of this, no doubt because they never ranked well in the first place. So looking at it that way I can see exactly why Google did what they did. They tried to fix the problem of people gaming the results by trading links.

    The law of unintended consequences kicks in and the negative SEO industry blossoms. They screwed up in underestimating the reaction that it would cause, but it's silly to say they "decided to make negative seo so easy" and "they are doing nothing about it". How ridiculous. If you are going to say stuff like that then you ought to provide some evidence that it was deliberate and that they are doing nothing. They tried to make their results better and I am sure they don't have their feet up on the table now thinking that they have solved the search problem once and for all. In some cases they did, in some they didn't. They have made black hat more attractive especially in the gambling space because, as I said before, genuine quality unsolicited backlinks are almost non-existant in this industry. Show me a top ranked site and I'll almost certainly be able to show you the links they have bought. This makes it easier for a black hat to put together a crap site on a strong domain (which is what they all seem to be doing now by acquiring existing non-gambling domains and replacing the content on them), point a link network at it and rank well because the good sites are doing the right thing and cleaning up their link profiles which makes them weaker. And when the black hat's site gets busted, he has little to lose as they are all generic rubbish, they just go for a new domain and rinse, repeat.

    But Google are damned if they do, damned if they don't. If they eliminate the penalty for spammy links then everyone goes back to buying links all over the place because the link is either worth something or its worth nothing, there is no downside. So the heavy link buyers win. On the other hand if they leave the penalty for spammy links in place then the negative SEO crooks can take advantage of it to attack the competition, and the black hats have an easier time ranking their new sites. They can play around with weightings and whatnot and try to pick the lesser of the two evils, or rewrite the algorithm to ignore links as a factor, and no doubt they are trying to reduce the importance by looking at social signals. One thing I do know for sure is that I don't have a clue what the best solution is, and neither do you or anyone else moaning about the whole thing, otherwise you would be building your own search engine or getting on the phone to Google and offering your consulting services.

    One thing you might want to keep in mind is that Google does not like affiliate sites. If you have a read of the manual they give their search quality feedback team that review algorithm changes, you'll see that there is a whole chapter devoted to spotting and flagging what Google calls "thin affiliates". These are sites that provide almost no value to the searcher and just exist to rank for a phrase and tag the searcher to earn a commission. The truth is that I think that is a fair description of about 90% of gambling affiliate sites that I have ever seen, so if you don't want to be flagged like that when or if a Google employee eyeballs your site, you had better make sure that your site has some high quality information and not the usual generic rubbish.

    The bottom line is that if you are a non-blackhat affiliate with a quality site that is dependant on Google for the majority of your traffic, then you are playing with a losing strategy as the rules can and will change at any time and there's not a thing you can do about it (except whinge here perhaps).
     
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    lalalaenhund

    lalalaenhund Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Yes, I believe they've made a conscious decision to make negative seo easier. I don't have proof, neither do you. You can call me childish, I think you're naive to think that a multi billion dollar company would accidentally make such a mistake. Either way, the change didn't make the search results particularly better, did it?

    Well, you can hardly blame blackhatters then, can you?

    You know, Google was the first search engine to declare buying links "bad". Not just spammy links, but any links! Nowadays many webmasters are afraid of buying high quality links that would bring them direct traffic and sales, simply because they fear a slap from Google. Right now, Google has no real competition from other search engines. They're almost a monopoly, they have such a market share that their company name has become a widely used verb. That's why I believe part of their focus has shifted to trying to milk the cow as dry as possible.

    Oh, and I thought of at least one example of Google actually making their search results worse by choice in order to gain more revenue: they've slowly over time added more and more adwords ads to their results. Now when you search for commercial terms, you'll almost have to scroll below the fold to find the organic listings. Half of the page is ads. They're clearly not very afraid of competition.

    What I'm saying is this: Google doesn't like anyone who does SEO, because if someone is able to consistently rank websites, they will never have to pay for advertising. Look at the advice given by Matt Cutts and the famous spam team. First, they teach you to hate blackhatters, and their definition of a blackhatter is literally "anyone who buys links", not just the spammers. Then, they proceed to give you advice that gets you absolutely nowhere in anything competitive. Yet you still somehow view them as the good guy. They've clearly done an excellent job.

    PS. I know Google is a private company that's allowed to do anything they want. I'm not crying here, I personally think what they're doing is perfectly acceptable in a free market. I just don't like it when people tout their horn like they're capable of doing no evil.

    Please don't flame brah.
     
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  14.  
    AussieDave

    AussieDave 17 years & still going!

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    Ummm...that's a really bad analogy.

    In actually fact, if you think about it, Google is flawed by design. For now, lets assume Cutts hasn't got a hidden agenda. Unlike say Bing and Yahoo where their alog still favours on page SEO, Google made the BIG mistake of using off-page ranking (link popularity) to weight heavily on its SE results. Now if the Google dev team are as smart as people think (and I'll add they claim), then why didn't a bright-spark over at G say... hang on... if we use this type of matrix then it can be manipulated. If having backlinks is factored into the alog and brings with it more chances of ranking higher, then of course people are going to buy, swap, do 3 way linking strategies &/or start link wheels and likely enter into blackhat manipulation. Why? Because the Google alog highly factors in links!

    Remember it's not the webmasters who implimented this alog, it's Google and they have always spoken about backlinks. The PR (page rank) was once a BIG business for selling links. That market would not exsist if it wasn't for Google's push and its alog matrix. Reiterating, the problem is Google's alog is flawed by design. Backlinks should not ber part of that ranking score. If that was removed, then it would create an even playing field for everyone. People would rank for the their sites for on page SEO and quality of content. Not for the BS which powers the rankings these days at Google. Which btw, no matter how many times Google updates this alog, it doesn't matter cause ranking in Google depends on backlinks not the quality of content. This is obvious when these blackhat sites are ranking high for totally crap content!

    And I'll add, no one should be able to do a negative SEO on any site. Another flaw heavily denied by Cutts for years, until it was clear webmasters were not accepting his excuses. The disavow tool was introduced.

    So unlike the Toyota analogy, Google, in this instance, is to blame!
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
  15.  
    slotplayer

    slotplayer Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I was thinking the same thing, why do backlinks need to be factored in to the equasion?
    While we all like free customers, as mentioned its not a game plan and as mentioned can be short lived.
     
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    muffincrumbs

    muffincrumbs Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Without back links we all go back to footers of black text on a black background.

    Yes, G likes to make money. No, it is not a conspiracy. If the math works out that their algo tinkering increases Adwords revenue by brooding the results. Meaning sites do not rank for the quantity of keywords they used too, because the algo now likes diversity. Then it is likely not laws of consequence. When left alone with no intention money tends to leave the pocket, not go back in...
     
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    Online18Casino

    Online18Casino Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Valdi does make a lot of good points. I think the biggest complaint here is that blackhat was less of a problem before the algo change.
     
  18.  
    slotplayer

    slotplayer Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    I just had guy pay for a link subscription a few days ago. I took the pay button off a while back but he had bought a link spot a couple years back but his subscription had expired.

    Also his site was 404 so I figured he closed up shop and removed the dead link when I did some house keeping.

    Apparently he used the automatic renewal email that was sent. I've emailed him to resend me the link code but have not heard back yet.
     
  19.  
    Vladi

    Vladi Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    Maybe no for you, in this specific industry. But you have to be careful to not generalise based on your own narrow perspective. Do you know about Google's process of releasing a new algorithm? In case you don't or for others benefit I'll summarise it. They employ thousands of people in their search quality team (mentioned above) that sit at a computer screen that is fed with search results for specific keyword searches. On the left they have the old results and on the right they have the new ones based on a proposed new algorithm. These people then provide feedback and rate the quality of the new algorithm vs the old. So for an algorithm to be released it has to be rated better than the old one by human beings who check samples of the results. Obviously they can't check everything and I'm willing to assume that the gambling space is very low on their list of priorities for reasons some of which were stated above - namely the high incidence of spam, Google's dislike of affiliate sites, and a large element of society that is not interested and even actively dislikes gambling. It is obvious the results have gotten worse in this specific industry. I have not noticed that happening in my day to day searches for non gambling related content. In fact if I didn't have to take an active interest in the frankly boring topic of SEO and the search engines due to my job I wouldn't even know that there had been a change in anything.

    Well that is a given seeing as they were the first search engine to incorporate linking into their algorithm. Like I said above when I mentioned Alta Vista and Yahoo, you need to understand why Google became the dominant player that it has become. It did because its product was so much better than the rest. If you have ever seen the old spam filled indexes of AV or Yahoo which were based on meta keyword tags and descriptions and keyword stuffing all over the pages then you would know exactly what I am talking about. But as soon as they told everyone about how the algorithm worked, they let the cat out of the bag and people started to game it which is only natural.

    As far as I am aware, they have never come out and said "linking is bad". What they have said is that buying and trading links for the purposes of improving your rankings is bad and if you are caught you will be penalised. Everyone knew this already anyway. There is no problem with buying links for advertising or traffic purposes, simply nofollow them and you will be fine. Of course you know that you will get no ranking benefit so if you don't nofollow and you get in trouble, don't whinge because you knew the risk. Its like idiots that I know that routinely drive their car over the speed limit then whinge as if its unfair when they get a speeding ticket. I speed too sometimes, but if I get caught I know it was my own fault, not some police conspiracy that is unfair because I'm a "good driver". (sorry for another car analogy, I usually hate those)

    I knew this would come up. Adwords are separate from search results. Featuring advertising more prominently sucks for people ranking highly naturally but it has no effect on the order of the search results. They are clearly marked and I don't think that I have ever clicked on a Google adwords result on a search page. Oh ok sometimes I click on the ads for companies that I don't like or blackhatters that are getting their gambling ads put up just to cost them some money. I admit it.

    Depends by what you mean by SEO. The term has become so bastardised from what it originally meant that people don't even understand what it means and loads of uninformed people now equate it to buying links. SEO means optimising your site to make it easier for the search engine to crawl and understand the content on your site. In that respect Google and other search engines love SEO because it makes their job easier.

    According to Google's rules, anyone who buys a link is breaking the rules. You can call it SEO, or the link buyers black hat if you want, grey hat or something else. At least be honest with yourself. You buy a link, you know you're breaking their rules. There is a small chance that you will be caught. You know that, so don't whinge about it afterwards.

    If you think anything that I have said is flaming, then you're a touch sensitive.
     
  20.  
    Vladi

    Vladi Affiliate Guard Dog Member

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    The analogy is fair. By that logic cars are flawed by design because they allow the driver to run people over. I answered why above where I explained the reasons they used linking, as one of no doubt hundreds or thousands of other factors. At the time they were light years ahead of everyone else, after starting from nothing and a market share of zero. It's easy to say it isn't working so well now with 20/20 hindsight after every man and his dog have been told to buy links to rank well. Actually it is strange that you say that they should stop counting links given how bad the search engine results were a long time ago before Google came up with the idea of using links as a ranking signal. It seems we have come full circle and are back where we started, although again this ignores that for me the general non-gambling search results are not noticeably worse now than they were a year ago.

    The point people seem to be missing is that a search engine algorithm is undoubtedly an incredibly complex piece of engineering and therefore there is no easy fix. Maybe they can't just say "links count for nothing" because perhaps whatever is left behind in the algorithm is not enough to produce better search results than what they have already. Perhaps they have tried this and search quality people rejected it. Links can be abused for sure, but I'm yet to see a search engine that doesn't use them that has demonstrably better results. I've tried Bing, tried DuckDuckGo, tried others and I don't see a major difference between any of them these days.

    Basically because when Google first came to be, backlinks were an excellent indicator of the quality of sites because they generally weren't traded or sold on the same scale as today. The ratio of signal to noise was much higher and a site with lots of backlinks was regarded as good by other site owners. So it was a relatively simple way of determining site quality. Obviously that has changed and that is why they have to keep trying to change and improve their algorithm, and they are looking at far more complicated ways of measuring site quality like language analysis, metrics like those you see in google analytics, and social media. It would be a mistake to think there is a magic bullet that will fix everything though. Every one of those methods can be gamed to some extent and people aren't just going to stop trying to get an advantage over others as that would be against human nature. I can guarantee you that if this forum is still around in 10 years time there will be some webmasters whinging about what Google or Facebook or whatever has just done, and saying things like "why don't they try using backlinks as a quality and popularity indicator".

    I don't love Google or think Google is infallible. In the past year I've had to clean up after a negative SEO attack and Google penalty that it caused. But I also don't attribute to malice things which can obviously be explained by an unintended screw up. If I am honest I would have to say that I would prefer it if they went back to the old system of bad links counting for nothing and it becomes a link buying free for all again. But long ago I learned to stop worrying about making Google happy. I don't read or follow what Matt Cutts or anyone else from Google says or does as they can do what they will do, they don't owe me anything, and I can't change any of that. Diversify your traffic sources and try to make more of the traffic you have, and make your site better for the people who visit it so that they want to come back repeatedly instead of depending on new visitors from the search engines every day. Ultimately that is all that you can fully control.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014

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