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Does Random Content Fool Google?
The Subtle Knife

 5:51 pm on Mar 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I was wondering whether random content will
fool the google freshbot?

i.e would random elements like chaning
the title/page copy help in the times
when google is unstable?


The Subtle Knife

 2:20 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Does anyone have any feedback on random content on home pages.

On first impressions it seems to fool google thinking your pages are being updated.


 4:45 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a cron job set up at 3am everyday which changes the 3 featured products on my homepage - it fools google and keeps the customers happy as the site looks fresh.


 8:04 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's possible. But consider this: Universities now have programs that can detect plagiarism in term papers and essays in split seconds by comparing text with a large sample of existing work. They are something like 99% accurate.

Why wouldn't Google employ something similar to detect cheaters?


 8:15 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Fooling? Cheating? Complete nonsense IMO. If you change a page - you change it. If you do that randomly or with a well thought out plan doesn't matter, neither to bots nor to humans. Both evaluate a page based on reputation and content. Okay, Google cares a bit more about reputation, perhaps too much. That in turn means constant changes on a page alone doesn't bring any benefit.


 9:22 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think it's probably smart enough to realize you shift from 2-3 different versions. Just go in and update your site. It's easier, not cheating, and makes your site better.


 11:50 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hey...just update your site daily for your visitors and the bots will respond favorably...give your visitors fresh daily content...they will appreciate you for this...if you can automate this...more power to you..
back to work for me...


 11:58 pm on Mar 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Trying to fool Google is a bit of a fool's game. You don't need to, anyway. The bot continues to be very interested in sites that it should be interested in.


 12:04 am on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Random content is a perfectly legitimate tool - for example, a random quotation at the foot of the page (like Slashdot), random image gallery, etc. Loads of sites are doing it. I don't see any problem for Googlebot, and it would probably register as an updated page.


 1:24 am on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

All I change is the homepage date. Nothing else is touched on the homepage but I'm always altering/adding other pages within the site (these other pages are not crawled as often as the homepage).

Google checks my home page pretty much every day and all I do is change a date.



 4:26 am on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think PR is what keeps Googlebot interested, not freshness.


 4:32 am on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

What keeps googles searchers happy?
Good fresh content¿¿¿¿
Why fool when you can do it properly?
If you can do that with a 'programme' all well and good.Fooling is short term, doing it is long term, IMHO.


 1:40 pm on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

On first impressions it seems to fool google thinking your pages are being updated.

Surely they are being updated, though?

I tried this about a year ago on my front page. I had a grid of four elements, each one a photograph and some accompanying text with links to features inside my site. I set up a pool of about 30 elements and a javascript to shift the elements forward every minute. So over a period of minutes, if a reader kept returning to the homepage, they would see ABCD, followed by BCDE, CDEF etc.

I wouldn't classify this as 'fooling' anyone. It strikes me as a perfectly legitimate way to keep the page looking fresh and different every time a reader returns... (though the refresh rate was probably too frequent).

However I scrapped it, because obviously the javascript meant nothing to the robots, so to them it looked like there was very little content on the page.

I'd love to reintroduce it at some point though in a format comprehensible to robots as well as humans. How are you implementing the randomization, TheSubtleKnife? Are you using a server-side script?


 1:48 pm on Mar 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Server side scripting makes this easy enough, we use ASP.

Our sites sell widgets, each site has upto 120 different types of widgets. Each site shows 5 "Featured Widgets" on the home page (a short description and a photograph), these are picked at random from our widgets database.

Seems to work okay for us, and it looks like it helps Google crawl all of our widget detail pages.

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