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Google Cloaking and Keyword Loading On Pages

Breaking their own rules?

     
5:49 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Funny story and discussion on Slashdot:
[slashdot.org...]
9:11 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



What was that thing that the guys from Google said at the recent SES conference? Oh, yes... I remember... "Don't cloak"

hahahahahaha

9:31 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



ncw164x, I was probably a bit optimistic in the 10% - it is probably lower than that. There are not nearly as many programmers and se type folks working at Google as you'd think. The majority are customer support.

It only takes a handful to work on the algo. I'd guess there isn't 20 people that know the algo intimately. Even noted tech guru Matt Cutts has only a little slice (adult filter) of the algo that he's responsible for.

> two main problems a search engine faces are
> cloaking and over optimised keyword stuffed pages

Say what?!? I don't know what the 2 main issues they face are, but cloaking and stuff pages don't even make a top 100 list. However, it is a great way to control webmasters and get them cranked up when it doesn't work as billed.

The biggest issues Google have - have little to do with the algo and the index. Their main cause for concern is setting in an executive office in Redmond.

You guys did know that:

Yahoo has hired seo's (former moderators at WebmasterWorld at that).
MSN has hired seo's (former admins of WebmasterWorld at that) and are still looking for more from the sounds of it.
Amazon is currently looking for seo's.
Overture used to hire many seo's.
Ebay - some of the best seo'ers on the net.
Altavista blatently looked for seo's before they were bought.

What do you think all those people are doing?

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 12:00 am (utc) on Mar. 9, 2005]

9:43 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



What do you think all those people are doing?

Buying links, auto-generating pages, and cloaking for starters - at least from what I have seen so far :)

This is not a serious thread, nothing much to see, but it is, nonetheless, entertaining. The point that ciml makes is good though...

9:44 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



OK figure of speech with "they are the two main problems"

maybe a power cut is number one on the list then ;)

10:10 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



hehe. gotcha ncw164x. lmao.

waiting for the real story here on this....

...tap tap tap... testing one two testing...

Yep, it is on... floor's yours ;-)

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 10:47 pm (utc) on Mar. 8, 2005]

10:14 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It's funny reading the comments on the /. article. Our non-webmaster geek-brethren are absolutely clueless about what the story was about.

One person pointed out that they don't look at the cached version when they click on the search results so it wasn't effecting them at all...sigh.

Others couldn't understand what the big deal was, they don't understand that many of us eat and starve by our (or our clients') rankings; Google holding webmasters to one standard while not living up to it themselves is fishy. Or as was pointed out, ensuring that subordinates know what lines not to cross to avoid this kind of embarrassment.

Of course, when the math and physics guys start swarming all over one of their stories I have a tendency to wonder what the big deal is, too.

Incidentally, that was the first story I submitted to slashdot that they accepted. But they rejected the one I submitted a few weeks ago about Jenna Jameson's moaning ringtones...

10:19 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



No honest I must pass the micophone back to yourself, I think your editing on the fly has to take center stage tonight ;)
10:19 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



[mumble] 'Do as i say -- and not as i do.' [/mumble]
11:28 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



This certainly is an interesting story, and although not as big as some make it out to be, it's interesting to see the double standards we have for companies.

This certainly wasn't an accident, but probably an ill conveived idea by some level of management that never crossed the desks of the higher ups. Cloaking is cloaking, and no matter what spin you put on it, or what their intentions were, it's still something they have openly been against.

If this was Microsoft, we'd have seen nothing but negative comments. We'd be talking about the evil empire, unethical practices, and attempts at world domination. However, placing Google's name in that slot, and it gets conveniently swiped under the rug. Sort of like the autolink/smarttag issue.

Google owns the search and can do as they please. Does it go against their motto of "don't be evil"? Yes. Does it go against their webmaster guidelines? Yes. Does it effect anyone on this board? No.

In the end, we all have to make our own perception of what Google really is. This isn't an SEO issue, it's a public image issue.

11:57 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



> If this was Microsoft,

We'd have seen nothing but SEO's putting in resumes to get the cherry cloaking job on the net. No one - but no one would have been surprised.

I think the upset over the auto link was deserved. There is a line there where upset crosses into flame for the sake of flame (eg: Yahoo Directory 98-99, Altavista 99-00, Excite 99, SmartTags 02).

>Our non-webmaster geek-brethren are absolutely
>clueless about what the story was about.

Live, learn, and remember.

12:11 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



One person pointed out that they don't look at the cached version when they click on the search results so it wasn't effecting them at all...sigh.

And I'm sure that's pretty much how the rest of the world thinks. Who cares what was done with some keywords here or there, as long as the content is relevant. However, there are many out there who think differently and want others to think as they do as well.

Make pages for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users, or present different content to search engines than you display to users.

Don't employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.

Like these guys [google.com]

I load up Firefox with the User Agent switcher set to Googlebot and see text in the title that is different compared to what I see with IE or Firefox User Agent Default.

12:57 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Hey everyone, I'm sorry that it took me a while to post about this. I wanted to make sure I completely understood what was going on first.

Those pages were primarily intended for the Google Search Appliances that do site search on individual help center pages. For example, [adwords.google.com...] has a search box, and that search is powered by a Google Search Appliance. In order to help the Google Search Appliance find answers to questions, the user support system checked for the user agent of "Googlebot" (the Google Search Appliance uses "Googlebot" as a user agent), and if it found it, it added additional information from the user support database into the title.

The issue is that in addition to being accessed via the internal site-search at each help center, these pages can be accessed by static links via the web. When the web-crawl Googlebot visits, the user support system thinks that it's the Google Search Appliance (the code only checks for "Googlebot") and adds these additional keywords.

That's the background, so let me talk about what we're doing. To be consistent with our guidelines, we're removing these pages from our index. I think the pages are already gone from most of our data centers--a search like [site:google.com/support] didn't return any of these pages when I checked. Once the pages are fully changed, people will have to follow the same procedure that anyone else would (email webmaster at google.com with the subject "Reinclusion request" to explain the situation).

1:05 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



thanks GG.
1:07 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member googleguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Again, sorry it took me a while to post. The main person who could have answered questions was flying back to the U.S. on a plane, which made it hard to dig into what was going on.
1:55 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



In order to help the Google Search Appliance find answers to questions, the user support system checked for the user agent of "Googlebot" (the Google Search Appliance uses "Googlebot" as a user agent), and if it found it, it added additional information from the user support database into the title.

Doesn't the Google Search Appliance support metadata? Like the good old "keywords" :-)

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