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Why wouldn't Google employ something similar to detect cheaters?
Google checks my home page pretty much every day and all I do is change a date.
On first impressions it seems to fool google thinking your pages are being updated.
Surely they are being updated, though?
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).
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?
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.