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Maybe that's what they thought when they decided to do the things you don't like.
Of course it's quite possible that if you do join them, both you and they will be banned. This will help put bread on someone else's table, but doesn't do you much good.
Mostly, I think that this comes down to whether you're in it for the short term or the long term.
You have to beat your competition, if they spam and Google won't remove them, you have to spam too, otherwise you end up having no money at all because the hardcore spammers do a good job at Google and steal your money.
So be better and "spam them away".
I myself concentrate on brand and quality, but in the past few months ive started working on these spam type sites and the results are amazing. It looks like im gonna make more money and get more traffic from a 3 page site I put together in 20 min to rank well in google than I am with my 5 year old site with tens of thousands of pages of content. I have quite a few older sites and none rank well despite good PR. It is clearly all about anchor text and domain keywords and no graphics on your page.
I to have reported the way GoogleGuy suggested, yet no assistance has been rendered.
I am being spamed with the help of a MAJOR CA university with very close ties to Googles founders, go figure!
I don't have a problem that they are beating me, I could live with #2, but on a couple of searches for "hotels in [destination]" and combinations thereof they are not only the first, they are usually second, third, fourth and fifth.
They have a ton pages with the same content "hogwashed" through their "scrambulator".
For instance they may list, say 20 hotels in the area, and they have a HTML page with the file name:
Then result 2 is:
Result 5 is a subdomain, uses the exact file name as result 1:
And it goes on and on: using ".htm" instead of ".html"; changing the alphanumeric string, changing the order of the destination names, stuff like that.
All in all I found ~ 190+ pages for this region from this site, by searching site:[domain] "[destination]". 190 pages with more or less the same content, albeit "scrambulated".
They've done the same thing with the [region name] map search, through their partner at [online map site].com, and they are in 1st place, but ironically they have *no map* of the area, bcz [online map site].com doesn't have information for this particular international destination.
So I guess I need to stop hand coding my pages and start serving everything from a database and make super long "cookie crumb" file names for my pages, oh and use subdirectories with the same content, just use different CSS and logotypes and page organization.
"frustrated in [destination]"
[edited by: PatrickDeese at 9:23 pm (utc) on April 16, 2003]
Many time these types of "hogwashed" through their "scrambulator" type sites can be beat since they have low PR. Are you doing everything you can through good SEO to beat them? Keywords in url, domain, titles, inbound links etc...
It's been said time and time again that if you're on top of the serps it's good SEO, if you competitor ranks higher then it's spam.
That's a cute saying, but it's untrue. There is such a thing as search-engine spam, and it's defined by the methods that are used, not by the success or failure of those methods.
Many times the sites spamming have many duplicate site all crossed linked with strategic anchor text giving each site inflated PRs top positions.
Many times, the same site will command 3 or 4 of the top spots.
That is not solid SEO. That is spam and the only to beat is to to either have it removed, or join them and try to out spam them.
I prefer to keep my site clean and don't want to spam and instead just report them every month with the hope that some day they will get caught.
Until recently I've never even thought about SEO and our site has done funny things with Google. Somebody (in a great flustered panic) pointed out that I was in serious danger of duplicate penalty. Basically the site has over 200000 pages in Googles index despite only showing about 3000 category listings and around 30000 content pages. The reason was following:
Each content page was linked to like this:
but one page could be in several categories so
were the same page. I used the path to provide a return link on the contentpage which made navigation easier. Also many "related categories" and "other interesting related content" style links were loved by google. For some results we were dominating several pages of the search results.
Having been pointed out to the duplication penalty, and also noticing that of course each page had its own PR and a page that might have potentially PR 5 or PR 6 might in fact have 3 times PR 3 and a few PR 4 instead, I have now changed all links to point to:
Of course that is not as pretty and doesn't make any directory/navigational sense, but I don't know how I could maintain my neat directories and still keep Google happy.
Would it be better to 301 redirect like this:
/category1/contentpage1 -> /category2/contentpage1
I wonder. But of course a 301 changes the browser display and would confuse the visitors.
How can I handle this case best where Googles requirements actually prevent me from delivering a better user experience? (user readable URLS and so on)
In fact we have often discussed "theme pyramids" and hierarchical directory structures, but what if the leaf nodes can reside in several branches?
Thanks for your insightful comments.
PS: Note this is a directory, it does not sell anything to its visitors.
I'd like to find a satisfactory solution. Is there some way to tell google to treat two pages as one, without doing an URL changing redirect?
Well I see how It will work this next update. I jsut hope Google won't kill off the site because of all the changed links. It's a tough enough site to get indexed properly, it beeign frames based.
You might want to consider cloaking (Gasp!) googlebot and always linking to the main version of that page. Neither Googlebot or the searchers care about where they end up in your tree, only those that are surfing your tree care.
As you would still be serving up the same content to both google and the users, I don't think there would be any penalty.
Anyone else have any comments on whether something like this is likely to be okay?
Google does encourage cloaking when it comes to session IDs, and I would expect something like this to be towards that end of the scale.
I could google sniff at the server and mod_rewrite 301 all alternative categories to the "main" category, so google would see:
/category1/contentpage --301--> /category/contentpage
/category2/contentpage --301--> /category/contentpage
/category3/contentpage --301--> /category/contentpage
and others would get the normal content.
Would this have the desired effect? What about META NOINDEX or NOFOLLOW tags?
Ultimately I want all content to get indexed for the right keywords as well as not loosing any PR to "unseen" pages. would google take the PR vote and pass it on along a 301 redirect? or not pass it into a NOINDEX page?
Thanks for the great suggestion, it brought me thinking along new lines.
I've also noticed how GoogleBot hits the 301, but doesn'T hit the riedirection target page in that scan. Maybe it gets it later if it has time, the next update otherwise, I supose.
I've moved SO many URLs this month, several 10s of 1000s. Finalyl doign all through mod_rewrite, so they'll never have to move again no matter what happens under the hood. I hope Google will figure it all out.
My double redirection technique works a charm though :)