Is Google Screwing Up?

No one can escape Google’s relentless tweaks to catch spam and build search result accuracy. No one! Not even WPMU and JournalXtra.

Panda, Penguin, Parrot… Okay, I made the last one up but the point is that Google is screwing up.

When Penguin was released, WPMU’s traffic dropped from over 8,000 daily visits to under 2,000 daily visits. At around the same time, JournalXtra’s traffic dropped from over 1,000 daily visits to around 500 daily visits (still getting around 7000 daily page views though ;)

WPMU uses white hat SEO techniques. JournalXtra is white hat. So what is going on?

In an article at WebsiteProNews:

Last week, Farmer received some second-hand info from Google’s Matt Cutts, who reportedly spoke with the Sydney Morning Herald about According to Farmer, Cutts provided three problem links pointing to the site. These included a site pirating their software and two links from one spam blog using an old version of one of their WordPress themes with a link in the footer. Farmer reported that Cutts “said that we should consider the fact that we were possibly damaged by the removal of credit from links such as these.”

A couple of bad backlinks from dodgy sites can kill a good site.

It’s worrying. Lots of good sites have been hit because a bad site has backlinked to them. Competitors are taking advantage of this by strategically placing links on spam sites to point Google to their rivals’ site and thereby reduce the rival site’s authority. Penguin is black hat SEO heaven.

Google is screwing up in a big way:

  • G+ allows webmasters with time and money to artificially increase their SERPs
  • Penguin allows webmasters to damage rivals with links from spam sites
  • Penguin allows psychotic ex partners to get real vengeance on us geeks :O
  • Will Parrot reward content duplication?

And Google is in the process of changing US search results so that people get answers to questions in the search result page without ever visiting the site that provides the answer. The new update rolls out Wednesday and is called The Knowledge Graph.

The upshot is that many users will end their Internet search without leaving Google’s pages, when in the past they might have continued to a site such as Wikipedia, which is collaborating with Google on the new search features ~ Reuters.

I’m really thinking about blocking Google spiders. Knowledge Graph is akin to content theft. It will destroy many websites.

Other than blocking Google from profiting from our content — and let’s be honest about this: we write it; it is our content — what else can we do?

If nothing else, Google is inspiring. Without so many screw-ups there would be much less content about Google on the net.

Bootnote: I am glad to report JournalXtra is building traffic again after a few days hard work to get content crawled afresh.

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