What Does Google Really Want?
By Steve Gillman - August 31, 2012
We don't buy links for our sites, and we have never used "article
spinners" for our websites and never will, but we wonder
what Google really wants in order to rank a site highly, and
if perhaps bought links and spam provide a surer route to success
online. In case you aren't familiar with these software tools
called spinners, they create new articles from old. This is meant
to avoid a "duplicate content" penalty from search
engines, as opposed to just posting the same content all over.
Every sentence is altered using a synonym program so, for example,
if a paragraph starts with this:
There is more than one way to save money when buying a
Then the software might make it into:
There is excess of one method to put aside coins when purchasing
The average internet user does not know that "English"
like this now comprises more than half of everything online.
Thankfully these kinds of pages still do not show up more than
50% of the time when you search using Google.
However, the infamous Google algorithm still cannot tell that
these sites are not original content, nor that it is not "human"
language. It isn't terribly surprising. If you put that "spun"
sentence in MS Word you will notice that there are no grammatical
errors flagged, even though no real person would want to read
such garbage. So sites that are full of this garbage still count
as important in the Google search engine algorithm, and this
is why many SEO experts still make a living online with sites
that get their ranking in Google due to links they buy from crap
sites like these.
But what happens Google identifies the spammy sites? Unfortunately
they have decided to attack not just the crap, but also anyone
that the crap is linked to. Thus, if a site wants to rise in
the results, they can buy a bunch of crap links to their competitors'
sites, and report the linking sites as spam, so Google will penalize
the target. There are software programs that will get the links
for you for free as well. This is referred to as "negative
SEO" ("SEO" stands for "search engine optimization").
This is why we have 14,000 links from a speed skating site
in Holland pointing to on of our sites -- it is an obvious "negative
SEO" attack. We wouldn't know how to buy 14,000 links on
a skating blog nor have any interest in doing so, but there they
are. Google has, unfortunately, decided to enable the entire
criminal industry of negative SEO by penalizing sites for links
coming to them. That particular site of ours has now lost 98%
of Google traffic, and so has lost more than 80% of revenue.
We have disappeared from their search results, after having first
page listings for many years.
We don't use spinners, and we haven't had to pay for links
either. The links we have are mostly from people who found my
articles useful and reprinted them on their websites. We try
to simply produce quality content that serves the visitors to
our sites. Our site howtoremovecarpetstains.com, for example,
lays out specific instructions for removing fifty or sixty different
stains. My site on ultralight backpacking has more information
on that subject than all but a few other sites, yet it has lost
almost all traffic.
Google has decided to let other website owners destroy our
business. They even sent a notice to us to let us know that they
are penalizing theultralightbackpackingsite.com in the search
engine results pages due to "unnatural linking" that
they have detected. They will not tell us which links they do
not like, nor could we afford the lawyers necessary to get the
taken down. They have chosen to put dozens of garbage sites ahead
of us in the results for searches like "ultralight backpacking"
and "lightweight backpacking" in order to fight a battle
against "spammers." Of course, the victims in this
battle are not the spammers, who have moved on to other projects
and who make their money with disposable sites (they can build
garbage sites full of spun content in minutes).
I will not participate in the spamming of the internet, and
so I will not do the things the spammers and negative SEO crowd
does, but for the first time we have to consider at least buying
links in order to compete for position in the results. Google
says this is what they are trying to stop, yet the more we focus
on quality and relevance, the more they penalize our sites. When
I go to the forums I see that those who play the SEO games at
least sometimes succeed, so what's the lesson?
Google apparently wants us to buy links, and even from those
spammy spun-content sites. Nothing else seems to get a site into
the top results any longer. "Build a quality website and
they will come" is a myth. The truth is that you have to
build a website and play the SEO game without getting "caught"
by Google, and you then might get some traffic. And unlike negative
SEO links, the spammy linkls we buy can be removed as Google
identifies them, so we can somewhat protect ourselves. Throw
away the old links and buy more. Throw away the websites and
build more. I'm not sure if Google intended to change the internet
in this way, but with most of the search traffic online going
through them, they make the rules.
By the way, if you want a fun brain game, try to reverse engineer
the "spun" content you find online. For example, I
found this in the first paragraph of a blog post about a baby
This company buckles down to serve its customers with the
best amenities and to slake their wishes and expectations.
My guess is that it originally said something like;
We try to serve our customers with the best products and
to meet their every demand and desire.
But who knows? Of course, when and if Google is able to (sort
of) detect this crap, they will almost certainly ban my website
or this page from their search results for having it here--even
if it is here only as an example. A human would understand but
is there really any way to avoid the juggernaut of algorithmic
judgment? I doubt it. It is, perhaps, time to play the game.