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Google's Matt Cutts: Comments Stuffed With Keywords May Be Seen As A Manipulative Link Scheme
engine

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Msg#: 4623299 posted 6:02 pm on Nov 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google's Matt Cutts produced a video which is worth watching and listening to. Do you use use commenting to market your site?

In the video, Matt indicates that keyword rich commenting may be seen as manipulative, and Google reserves the right to take action. There, you've been warned.

Here's the video.


 

EditorialGuy

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Msg#: 4623299 posted 10:16 pm on Nov 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

With the ability to nofollow my links the site owner is instructing the SE's that they don't endorse the link and this alone should be enough to keep the link from factoring into the SE's ranking algorithm.


Not necessarily. There's more to a search algorithm than link popularity or PageRank.

webcentric

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Msg#: 4623299 posted 11:00 pm on Nov 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

There's more to a search algorithm than link popularity or PageRank.


I obviously over-spoke when what I really meant is "factoring into page rank" but we all know my statement's still probably a stretch even just for page rank. What I can't understand is why this even matters. Fit your round peg into Google's square hole if you like or do what works for you and don't worry about rankings. I believe that jumping through their hoops is a way to imprison oneself in their system eventually (if not to wind up their execution room). I'd frankly prefer to have this conversation with people who are trying to stay out of that jail rather than with a group of inmates who have no choice but to speak in whispers about the warden's policies while huddled in a broom closet.

turbocharged



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 11:22 pm on Nov 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Spammers gonna spam, the same way the shills are gonna keep on shillin

Very true. The only thing Google has created is a shift in what gets spammed. Instead of people spamming their own sites, they are spamming their competitors now. Just look at all the complaints in Google's webmaster help forum regarding negative seo. Some are even complaining that they get spammed even more after posting their URL for help. What a mess.

JD_Toims

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Msg#: 4623299 posted 12:49 am on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

The only thing Google has created is a shift in what gets spammed. Instead of people spamming their own sites, they are spamming their competitors now.

Well, I'm sure they didn't open the door even further for negative-SEO to work due to an ulterior motive of theirs or anything along those lines -- It's gotta be they just failed to think through all the possible [likely imo] ramifications of their decision/announcement before they made it.

BTW: Not sure if this is the appropriate forum, but I may have a bridge for sale and a very nice wooden horse to throw in with it if anyone's interested...

EditorialGuy

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Msg#: 4623299 posted 12:56 am on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Fit your round peg into Google's square hole if you like or do what works for you and don't worry about rankings. I believe that jumping through their hoops is a way to imprison oneself in their system eventually (if not to wind up their execution room).


How is not spamming other people's sites "jumping through their [Google's] hoops"? Are you suggesting that polluting third-party sites with comment spam is most people's default behavior?

JD_Toims

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Msg#: 4623299 posted 1:07 am on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

How is not spamming other people's sites "jumping through their [Google's] hoops"?

Because the blogs it's done on allow it to be done...

I guess you really didn't want to get into the "motive questioning" of those who allow spammy comments on their blogs. Not sure why?

But, by allowing the comments rather than having an effective TOS and enforcing those terms the blog owners are paving the way for it -- What would motivate them to do that?

Hmmm... Let me think of some reasons:

The comments add topical keywords to their blog page, but "they didn't do it", so they shouldn't be held accountable, even though they allowed it to happen.

Their blog isn't really that important to them, which imo means it's likely not terribly important to others either. If a blog isn't even important enouhg to it's owner to manage and take care of, why would it be important to Google's visitors?

The time they would have to spend reading and "filtering/moderating" the comments left would take away from time the could spend spamming, er, uh, I mean blogging on a different site.

I know you don't "get it" but the problem is the blog(s) allowing the comments they do and the owner/operator not managing their blog as if it is actually important to them, which in many cases I know of, it really isn't, because if one tanks, they still have 100+ to continue generating traffic from Google.

webcentric

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 1:27 am on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

How is not spamming other people's sites "jumping through their [Google's] hoops"?


First, what he said (by he I mean JD_Toims).

Second, what definition of spam are you using? Google's? The site owners? My definition of spam is "unwanted, uninvited content entering my stratosphere" whether it's in my email box or on my website. I have strict policies about what gets posted on my sites and I enforce those policies. Spam my site (by my definition) and your content is gone plus your ability to do it again using the same member account, email address or even the same IP address. On the other hand, I allow linking from my sites by members under controlled conditions because it's part of what I offer. Who is Google to tell me or my visitors what it thinks is appropriate and use that power to financially punish someone in the process. Where's your enthusiasm for the spirit and vision that created such a fascinating place as the Internet and why do you believe that corporations and governments should run the show when it was the free-thinkers that made it what it is today (and subsequently gave the power brokers something they felt they absolutely must have control over now and into the future)?

JD_Toims

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Msg#: 4623299 posted 1:28 am on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Let me add one more...

Since it's no problem for Google to question the motive(s) behind comments left on a blog, it must be no problem for me to question theirs, unless someone has an unfair bias, so assuming they don't:

Google's results would get "better" or "cleaner" if blog owners/operators had to "take care of their blog" and not allow "spammy" comments and "spammy" nofollowed links if they wanted to rank in Google; the site(s) "spammy" comments and "spammy" nofollowed links are referring to [according to Google's stated interpretation of the nofollow directive] should receive no benefit in rankings due to the "spammy" comments and/or "spammy" links left.

Google's currently stated policy opens the door further for negative-SEO and actually compounds the issue of "spammy" commenting and "spammy" nofollowed links on blogs, since "pointing the nofollowed links to a competitor" is now a way to remove that competitor from a higher ranking position than you have, so where previously, "spammy" commenting and "spammy" nofollowed links may have been left in comments for one site by a "spammer", now, if there are 3 competing sites above the same "spammer" they have to leave 3 times the number of "spammy" comments and "spammy" links to be #1 in the results.

What would be Google's motive(s) for doing that?

J_RaD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 3:10 am on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

just the text caption before the video says
DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

then watching everyone chase their tails to figure google out....... really? still?

guess guess guess......

Awarn



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 4:09 am on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google obviously puts value to blog comments or this wouldn't be an issue, The question I have is why does Google put any value at all to blog comments. From what I have seen is their artificial intelligence seems to like blogs but maybe can't differentiate between blog articles and blog comments. One needs only to venture off this board and look at Fiverr and you can see the abuse. I for one don't view blogs as expert opinions and definitely do not put any weight in blog comments. So why in the world would Google? If Google truly is fighting spam it wouldn't matter if you post with your name or not.

turbocharged



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 4:47 am on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

The question I have is why does Google put any value at all to blog comments.

Just because Matt Cutts talked about blog comment links does not mean they are worth much, with the exception of those that may appear on whitelisted sites, as they are not editorially earned. Google's value in blog comment links is to use them as a prop in a larger play to promote the fear of linking to one another through these types of videos.

As it was mentioned before, many bloggers use nofollow on comment links. This alone should offer blog owners some significant level of protection, while encouraging those posting comments to use their freedom of expression. Except in extreme cases, I would have once agreed that penalties should be applied. But in this day and age, where negative seo is becoming more common, ascertaining who built the links and why is something that no algorithm or manual reviewer has the capacity to do with any degree of accuracy.

bluntforce

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 6:01 am on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have a couple of blogs where I receive comments that aren't published unless I approve them.
It is interesting to see where, on the internet, those same comments are published.

Google overall considers blog comments significant, it's a signal to determine which blog is well connected, relevant in the blogging world and of interest to searchers.

Blog comments, solely, probably aren't enough to rank a site anymore. Which also means it's not enough to tank a site if someone makes a bunch of links to you. What's a bunch? Think thousands, if not more.

The "shill" comment made me laugh. There are so many fanboys who effectively act as shills.

turbocharged



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 8:14 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Blog comments, solely, probably aren't enough to rank a site anymore. Which also means it's not enough to tank a site if someone makes a bunch of links to you. What's a bunch? Think thousands, if not more.

Your use of "probably" in your statement leads me to believe you are speculating on what most ordinary people would believe to be a common sense fact. However, this is not the case. Two sites come to mind that I've worked on have been hit by negative seo. The one that was linked to with a bunch of profane keywords held its own pretty well. The other, which was hit with spam links that targeted their primary keywords it was ranking for, dropped ten pages back. Both sites were hit with a similar number of links (mostly blog comments and forum profiles).

I've seen a number of sites hit with negative seo and those that fall like a brick had their primary keywords targeted in the spam links. I assume that this either over-optimizes their backlink profiles to trigger an algorithmic/manual action and/or devalues the trust in the specific keywords the sites are ranking for. Regardless, the end result is the same - a significant loss in traffic, which may not be immediate or may follow a short lived substantial boost in search positions.

bluntforce

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 10:13 pm on Nov 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I used "probably" because I haven't tried that with a competitive phrase so I don't know.

If comment spam negative seo is effective against a site, I'd tend to think the link profile isn't too strong. If a site goes 10 pages back, it's effectively dead for that keyword so I'd think there are three options. One, plead with Google, disavow and reconsider. Two, get some strong links. Three, diffuse the negative seo spam.

With the growth of social there are a lot of opportunities for sharing, commenting and linking by "regular" people, not just webmasters. I see the dynamics as being very different than what it was even a few years ago.

turbocharged



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 12:31 pm on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

If comment spam negative seo is effective against a site, I'd tend to think the link profile isn't too strong.

Outside of a few review type links (Angies List, BBB, Yelp, and an industry association link), there was not much of anything I would consider powerful. What small business has a powerful link profile that is developed naturally and in accordance with Google's guidelines? Very few do.

If a site goes 10 pages back, it's effectively dead for that keyword so I'd think there are three options. One, plead with Google, disavow and reconsider.

There's the fourth option, which is leave the site as it is and invest no more money into it. That's what the client did and is content using traditional marketing methods instead of tossing the dice in an effort to fix something he (or we) did not break. But we often get the questions from these clients and have to provide them basic support at our expense.

Social may work for some industries, but does not have much reach for a specialized regional construction company. This client understands this.

For all intensive purposes, this client's online marketing efforts are on pause indefinitely. We build sites and host them, so anything this client may be doing outside of that I'm not aware of. But the traffic logs indicate there is not much going on, outside of some direct visitors from their other advertising and some visitors coming from the other search engines.

As a web design company, that builds/hosts site mostly for small businesses, I've seen many of these small businesses reach the same destination in Google (buried many pages back for unknown reasons) as the client noted above. Although only a handful were victimized by negative seo, the impact on our business is the same - we get little to no work from these clients once Google gives them the boot.

Awarn



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 1:49 pm on Nov 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Blogs today could be the single most abused area and that is why blog comments should not carry value. Anyone can now post thousands of blog comments in minutes. Bluntforce says it is a sign that the blog is significant and well connected. Traffic shows the same data. Seems real odd that Google goes after sites link profiles yet values blogs comments.

bluntforce

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 6:37 am on Nov 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

@turbocharged
I'd venture to say most sites don't have a powerful link profile, they have a profile sufficient to get some rankings. In your situation, with customers not necessarily willing to expend the effort for rankings, maybe a local type directory or customer directory could help. Customers would receive any link juice and traffic benefit from such a project and they wouldn't have to think about it. I haven't fully thought it through, but providing (seo) value added hosting/design must have some benefit to local customers.

@awarn
My social comment was really saying there are a lot of social sites out there sharing pictures, recipes, funny cat photos. Virtually all of those platforms allow comments.
Google and other S.E.s need to sift through a lot more links where the signals probably aren't too clear. Every social user who posts some linked U.G.C. referencing cars, insurance, real estate, stock possibilities devalues to some degree existing links using those same anchor words.

Mods, apologies for using possible keywords, I'd tried to stay generic while also illustrating the issue.

Zivush



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 5:20 am on Dec 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

For me, this indication of Cutts is another indication that Google's algorithm stuck, rely heavily on links from one site to another, and evaluating the quality of those links.
I am still waiting to see when Google can accurately monitor user-engagement and whether they put more weight on site's performance, rather than making saturated 'improvements' to their plain old link valuation algorithm trying to chase spammers.

webcentric

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 10:09 pm on Dec 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

You know what? If Google actually cared about the effects of links on its index, it could simply stop using them as a variable in page rank or whatever. That's simple. Stop allowing your algorithm to be manipulated by links by simply eliminating the variable from the equation. But no, this is about stopping linking in general and telling everyone how the pieces of the Internet should fit together e.g. fit together in a way that doesn't compete with Google's own advertising model. Linking is advertising. The whole SEO debate over links is where Google wants the discussion, not over it's monopolistic practices where advertising is concerned. Let's see how long it takes to delete this post because it has nothing whatsoever to do with SEO in someone's under-active imagination.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 10:24 pm on Dec 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

But no, this is about stopping linking in general


Unlikely, since Googlebot depends on links to discover new sites and pages.

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 10:48 pm on Dec 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

EditorialGuy, you missed the point. Google depends on links for the bot to find sites, but OTOH the very existence of links competes with search. If everyone linked, you might need Google less to find new sites. If no one linked, you'd depend even more on search for finding sites.

Of course, if everyone stopped linking and instead let Adwords do the linking for them, that would be the very best scenario for Google.

EditorialGuy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 1:55 am on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Dlberry, the Matt Cutts video posted at the beginning of this thread is about a specific spam technique.

That's all it's about. It isn't evidence of a Google conspiracy against the World Wide Web.

Zivush



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 5:48 am on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

No. It's just chasing the wrong tail.

webcentric

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 6:39 am on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Here we go again. Finding a site and penalizing it for how it's found are two separate issues. Google is implying that link patterns are still an important part of the ranking algorithm. They could easily use a link to find new content on the web without trying to use it to weight the rankings. Is their algo really that crude?

Linking is a valid Internet tool. This video and other related information from Google is where the Knowledge of Good and Evil has its source for me as a webmaster. I was obliviously going along using HTML the way it was intended to be used when along came Google and I was told I had to now forsake a fundamental building block of the world wide web. It is MC that is suggesting a conspiracy and he's putting it on the backs of webmasters. We're out to manipulate Google. Is that really the case? Is Google incapable ignoring a fundamental Internet mechanism that might skew it's results? What's the real reason behind this video? Should I plan on opening an Adwords account if I insist on using the Internet the way it was designed to be used? I'd really like to know what linking has to do with matching results to queries and why linking is even relevant to SEO.

bluntforce

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4623299 posted 7:15 am on Dec 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google isn't a conspiracy against the WWW, they just want to own every last bit of it. Some people understand business, others are fanboys who don't realize how they promote their own demise.

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