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Multi Domains Crowding "Smart Spam" Is Defeating Google Webspam Team
reseller




msg:4589838
 10:18 am on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I see part of SEO industry and Webmasters communities are impressed of the effectiveness of latest Panda and Penguin algo updates to kill "traditional" spam mentioned in Google quality Guidelines [support.google.com...] .

However I have noticed that Multi Domains Crowding "Smart Spam" has emerged victorious regardless Panda & Penguin.

Allow me to clarify what I mean by "Multiple Domains Crowding (which is something entirely different than "Google Domain Crowding problem").

Multiple Domains Crowding Spam: Its a specific spam technique to own more than one top position on first page of Google SERPs for the same search term by several different domains you own or lease.

I prefer not to talk about "How To" of the said spam method as its not my mission to teach how to spam Google.

For example a kind WebmasterWorld member has sent me some search queries related to niche "Assisted Living" which illustrated how at least 3 different domains of same owner are within top 10 results of first page of Google Serps for the same search query. Such spam method is pushing possible valuable sites of honest webmasters out of top ranking on Google Serps.

I wish to mention that Multiple Domains Crowding spam isn't something new. In fact it has been know among Black Hat SEOes for several years. It is sad and discouraging for White Hat SEOes and Webmasters to see Google Websapm Team unable to win the war against Multiple Domains Crowding Spam and neither Panda nor Penguin have been able to solve the said spam problem.

And I don't see any effect on Multiple Domains Crowding spam by current Google algo rollout which Matt Cutts has announced recently, unfortunately.

 

jimsthoughts




msg:4589882
 2:31 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Interesting,
Are they registered under the same domain registrant name?
Were they registered at different dates?
Are they hosted on the same C Block?
Do they have lots of common backlinks on each site (multiple sites with very similar backlinks)?
Do they link to each other?

Awarn




msg:4589892
 2:55 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Couldn't this be a result of Panda and Penguin? As sites are hit, webmasters try several different methods to regain position. One of those methods would be to start new sites. Or even if they aren't hit they use this technique as insurance in case they do get hit. As certain methods begin to work the sites are tweaked and sites controlled by certain webmasters would control the ranking real estate for certain terms. Unfortunately we do not control the web. At this stage of the game Google makes the rules and we can only react. I agree this isn't an ideal situation but we have no say in the matter.

indyank




msg:4589896
 3:03 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Interesting.

Are these multiple domains good enough to rank high? i.e. are these good enough for their users? If yes, why is this considered a spam?

besnette




msg:4589900
 3:12 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Reseller, your observations are so important, and so correct.

What is scary to me is that the more big brands have the deepest pockets to pursue multiple domains, get them ranked, put money into them, and make them look pretty. But, often times, it is simply regurgitated information only packaged slightly differently.

Another technique that I am seeing is that some of these big companies that own multiple domains, taking many of the top spots, also "lease' many of the other sites. Basically put, they'll put ads that look identical to adsense, but in fact, those adds all redirect back to the big-money sites that also own many of the other domains in the niche. The top ranked site in my niche does this - every ad click and phone call goes to the big company.

The big-money site/company can afford to outbid adsense, and pay more for a click if they replace adsense with identical-looking ad blocks.

Within some of these multiple domains, there are even more techniques happening that I think help the site, and page, but are a disservice to the user. Taking your example of 'assisted living' someone searching for that term may come to one of these site that have tons of listings even for small towns - however, they are also listing 'skilled nursing and retirement homes' under the umbrella of the term 'assisted living' - both of which are vastly different than assisted living - but an algorithm, not being an expert in the industry, wouldn't know that. So, people spend a lot of time on these sites trying to sort through information that isn't totally relevant - adding to time on site, and the appearance of quality but really a disservice to the user.

So, yes, to have one company command most of the adwords space, and then populate half of the organic listings in one way or another is becoming a troubling trend. Independent, honest sites aren't doing this - most of them don't have the time, staff, money, or conscience to pull it off.

Seems to me that one of the biggest assets that google has to weed through some of this stuff is with some of their own data. Although Google Plus isn't flawless, they can surely tell who the real users are who spend lots of time on there - users giving +1's to sites and content that is good. Of course, it can be gamed, but I think google should be smart enough to know who is doing that. Getting consistent +1's from people in the industry you are in, people who contribute to the community should be a pretty valuable vote for a site. Youtube, same thing - harder to game than facebook or twitter -they know who is legit on Youtube. Most of these big brand sites have very little of either, especially with their 'multiple domains' - often times nothing in the way of authorship, +1's, or even a face on the site somewhere telling the user who is behind it. No attempts to build trust.

As of right now, I have little hope for any independent sites, and little faith in the drumroll of the past many years that "Content is King'

Hopefully the tide will turn back.

besnette




msg:4589901
 3:14 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Indyrank, yes, they rank well, and it is often regurgitated information with the intent of getting a referral or lead back to the parent company, who already displays the same information on their own site.

indyank




msg:4589905
 3:19 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Most of these big brand sites have very little of either, especially with their 'multiple domains' - often times nothing in the way of authorship, +1's, or even a face on the site somewhere telling the user who is behind it. No attempts to build trust.


When they have deep pockets. don't you think it is easy for them to build these, if they don't have them already?

besnette




msg:4589908
 3:27 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Indyrank, I just haven't seen it - many of these sites are slick and pretty, but by and large, they, at least in my niche, haven't spent much time on this - perhaps if they had an author, or showed it, or claimed responsibility some way it would be easier to track back to the parent company? Good question though...
some of these large companies don't even do much of it for their parent, or main site, but still rank incredibly well.

indyank




msg:4589912
 3:55 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

My point is, whatever you stated might not be good untainted indicators to use in the long run.

But I am still not convinced that these should be considered spam as long as they serve their users well.

besnette




msg:4589921
 4:06 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Sure, in the long run, the big pockets will very well figure it out, which is scary.
I don't agree on the other point - if it is the same company, using the same information to get the same traffic, why should they all bump out another site with unique, original information?

For example, if Amazon bought Barnes and Noble, Powells Books, and Borders (if they were still around) and didn't tell anyone about it or make it obvious, and you did a search for "50 shades of grey" and the top half of the results were all of these sites, same price, same info, but a smaller, independent site is pushed way below it, even if they have a video interview with the author, and a better price, and a unique angle on it? I would think that was pretty heavy-handed if I found out about it.

indyank




msg:4589932
 4:25 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

For example, if Amazon bought Barnes and Noble, Powells Books, and Borders (if they were still around) and didn't tell anyone about it or make it obvious, and you did a search for "50 shades of grey" and the top half of the results were all of these sites, same price, same info, but a smaller, independent site is pushed way below it, even if they have a video interview with the author, and a better price, and a unique angle on it? I would think that was pretty heavy-handed if I found out about it.


Boss, forget Amazon. if you look at the SERPS google is doing it with their Youtube, google images, places, shopping, and so many other properties. They might not be using different domains for everything but they buy out others to ensure they can play in everything possible. So, why should Google consider others doing it as spam?

indyank




msg:4589938
 4:32 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Again declaring to google or others that they own these domains is not really necessary. If they cross-link and do other stuff to cross-promote sites, google have all the evidence to demote them. (Though Google don't or wouldn't do it for themselves).

As long as they maintain their independent entity status and users like them independently, they should be good for google. Google is said to do things for its users and not for smal site owners/webmasters.

EditorialGuy




msg:4589939
 4:34 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Not so long ago, TripAdvisor content was duplicated on VirtualTourist (owned by the same company), and both ranked well in Google. Today, I hardly ever see VirtualTourist's duplicates of TripAdvisor pages on Google's SERPs. That's a sign of progress, even if it isn't definitive proof that Google has a handle on "Multiple Domains Crowding Spam."

indyank




msg:4589941
 4:39 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

if content is duplicated on multiple domains and they all rank on top, it is definitely a case for Google to act.

besnette




msg:4589946
 4:51 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well, you've made a point - because these companies can, and have the money to do so, they will....

An address surrounded by ads, phone numbers or forms that lead to or redirects to the parent company, replicated on 3 or more other sites with nothing else unique or original....all ranking well, I think anyone could say that's excessive.

If, indeed each of those sites offered something different, unique and original, then yes, the should rank on those merits. I'm just not seeing it right now in many cases. For as much as we've heard google over the years hammer people about duplicate content, and to focus on originality, depth and offering expertise...what we're talking about here, to me, contradicts that.

CaptainSalad2




msg:4589947
 4:52 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

>>>if content is duplicated on multiple domains and they all rank on top, it is definitely a case for Google to act.<<<

isn't that the point of Panda?

I don't see a problem with a business owning multiple domain/sites as long as the content is unique and they aren't linked together!

besnette




msg:4589949
 4:58 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am all for a site or company that has multiple domains, but offering something different and unique on their other ones. I used to work for a company called Planet Outdoors, who offered sporting goods....much of their line was for men. They branched off and created Women Outdoors, which offered totally different products for a different target population - which, this strategy is totally transparent, wonderful and legit. In these cases, Indyrank, I am all for it, and I think this is what you are making your point for. In this sense, very much agree with you. The examples I described above..ranking for exactly the same thing, with different packaging...that's what I have seen that is tough to swallow.

atlrus




msg:4589950
 5:02 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

For example a kind WebmasterWorld member has sent me some search queries related to niche "Assisted Living" which illustrated how at least 3 different domains of same owner are within top 10 results of first page of Google Serps for the same search query. Such spam method is pushing possible valuable sites of honest webmasters out of top ranking on Google Serps.


Don't really see why this would be considered spam?!? I have never seen 3 identical websites ranking on page 1, so I assume you talk about different websites owned by the same company. Ownership of domain name should be irrelevant. Many companies, even in "real life" have more than one brand name in the same category of product. For example, General Mills has nearly 50 different cereal brands, some pretty much the same, like Honey Squares and Honey Clusters :)

indyank




msg:4589954
 5:05 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

If content is duplicated across multiple domains and they all rank on top, the ranking should at best be temporary. If they happen to be ranking on top for a long time, it is a case of pure spam and google should have found it with their animals, as there is nothing smart about this spam.

besnette




msg:4589994
 6:27 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

True atlrus, but if a company owns multiple domains, but can't put their brand, name or logo somewhere on the site to vouch for the content, and ownership, and authorship, then why should that content be considered quality or unique - if they can't even vouch for it or stand behind it?

If I was trying to get bids on a service or product, and spent time filling out three forms from page one on google, from what I thought was from three different sites or companies - only to find out it was the same company after the fact, I would be pretty pissed for wasting my time, and possibly money.

If a big company doesn't have the cajones to stand behind information they put out their as being owned by them, I consider that a sign, among many that they are trying to work the system.

Most big companies like General Mills, Pepsi, etc at least put somewhere on the packaging or bottle that they own the sub-brand...claiming responsibility.

And, the products they put out under different brands are most often quite varied and unique.

Again, we're talking about repackaging the exact same thing, and not claiming responsibility for it, often commanding multiple clicks, or lead forms filled out, going to the same person or company. A disservice to all of the users in that niche in my view.

atlrus




msg:4590007
 7:28 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

As they say, "don't hate the player, hate the game", in this case the "game" being Google.

Unless you are a very large "whitelisted" brand, it would be irresponsible, at the least, to interlink your websites. If you have 3 websites on page 1 and you interlink them - there is at least 50-50 chance you'd get slapped with a penalty on all of them. At those odds, I can't blame anyone for trying to keep their websites as far apart as possible.

Now, how they decide to do business with their visitors, that's their business. Unless legally obligated, they can do whatever they want. If you think you can do better - there is no barrier for you to build 2 more websites and rank them along your main website, or 5 or 10.

reseller




msg:4590016
 7:46 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I wish to add that mostly those Multiple Domains Crowding spammers wouldn't be satisfied to occupy one or two of top 10 spots on first page of Google Serps, they want to occupy all top 10. When those "smart" spammers occupy most of top 10, it wouldn't harm them much if one of those Google algo updates kill the ranking of one or two of their spam domains.

Those spammers work on complicated mix of domains they purchase or lease which are just slightly different in look and feel. I think it is safe to consider those spam domains as "Doorway Domains" that are created for the sole purpose of manipulation of ranking on Google Serps. As such, those "Doorway Domains" used in Multiple Domains Crowding spam are neither adding much value to Google Serps nor Google users.

plc90210




msg:4590025
 7:52 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't think this should be considered spam as long as all the sites have quality content and clean link profiles. The company I work for has a blog/news site that ranks around #7-10 for a query that the main company site also ranks for at #2. The blog has lots of quality content on it with a natural/clean link profile and it links to the main website. No spam done on either site. Nothing wrong with that, IMO.

besnette




msg:4590026
 7:57 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

plc90210..that's the point - they are doing it with similar, or identical content - nothing unique or original. Sure, if it is great stuff, different, targeting different users, great - but if the sole purpose is to crowd out competitors, which is what we are talking about, that is a problem.

lucy24




msg:4590038
 8:16 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Are they registered under the same domain registrant name?

See parallel thread about advisability or otherwise of keeping whois information publicly available.

I have never seen 3 identical websites ranking on page 1

You're kidding, right? I've seen the same page in 1, 2, 3 position. Different URLs, but a human can get from one to another by re-sorting or by clicking a "more info" box that adds to existing page content without changing anything above-the-fold.

Awarn




msg:4590053
 8:34 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Look at the common denominators and you probably can do the same thing. This is just a byproduct of Google's misguided game. If they had part of the algorithm that rewarded domain age it would eliminate the majority of this. Spam team could eliminate over 50% of all spam with an age factor that worked.

reseller




msg:4590060
 8:48 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

@jimsthoughts

Are they registered under the same domain registrant name?
Were they registered at different dates?


- Two domains have same Registrant. A third domain carry the name of same registrant at footer of pages (example.com is a website of same registrant company name, Inc. ), and has Registrant: Domain Discreet Privacy Service, ATTN: example.com ....etc.

- Yes, said 3 domains where registered at different dates.

plc90210




msg:4590080
 10:19 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

If the problem is that the domains are using regurgitated content, isn't that considered just a general spam problem rather than "Multi domains Crowding Smart Spam". Panda/Penguin should catch those domains eventually.

bluntforce




msg:4590095
 11:13 pm on Jul 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I fail to see how any of that could be considered spam. If there was the same ownership of hundreds of sites with minor variation in keyphrase emphasis, that would be spam.

Bottled water is a decent example, a few brands with slight variations owned by the same entity seems reasonable. A dozen brands would be a little over the top.

reseller




msg:4590163
 5:26 am on Jul 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I hope Google's Webspam Team and Google's Search Quality Team would consider rolling out an algo change that improves the diversity of search results in terms of different domains of different contents returned for the same search query. Because Multiple Domains Crowding and Doorway Domains are not for the benefit of Google users at all.

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