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Is Google profiling you as an SEO? If so do you really care?

12:56 am on Jun 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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There appears to be some buzz around some statements made at a SEM conference last week to the effect that Google is *profiling* SEOs and their websites.

Has anyone else read about this? Do you think there is truth to the idea or it is just another tin-foil hat thing?


5:06 am on June 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yes, I've read about this, and it doesn't seem exactly like news to me. I always assumed that when an SEO gains a degree of visibility, then Google would track their projects as best they can -- and they would take note of whatever approaches they use. They track site owners this way, why wouldn't they track site optimizers?

Here's some transcript from the conversation with Matt Cutts that seems to have tripped off the buzz:

Michael Gray: I have a Web site...that gives free gifts to bloggers to get them to write about it...We’re doing the exact same thing that Google did with the Android phones, but we had to go through an extra level (putting nofollow on all the links). It seems like you’re stereotyping projects just because an SEO is inovlved.

Matt: The closer you get to money for links, the higher risk we consider it.

You&A with Matt Cutts [outspokenmedia.com] from SMX Advanced

5:19 am on June 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks tedster. And thanks for adding the reference and link - adds a bit of context to my obscure post.

I haven't thought about it before so it is a new thought for me.

The quote you've pulled seems quite innocuous - I haven't seen/ heard the whole transcript and so I am at a bit of a loss to see how being "closer to money for links" equates to "profiling the seo"

a degree of visibility
- like being a moderator on WebmasterWorld? :)

Personally I'd like to know who is keeping a file on me, what is in the file, who has access to it and what that info is used for. That's just me.

Recently, more than in the past, I get increasingly concerned about "over-optimising penalties". Doing the latest while hat thing (think no-follow sculpting) only to find 2 years later that the house of cards is collapsing.

I guess that most websites are not optimised and Google would prefer it to be that way. They can then spend less time on policing their link economy and more on user-experience.

What next - turning down the dial on sites listed in the portfolio section of your local SEO expert?



6:51 am on June 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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What next - turning down the dial on sites listed in the portfolio section of your local SEO expert?

For all sorts of reasons, I don't think it's wise for an SEO to post a portfolio, or for a client and seo to be associated publicly, no matter how "white hat" the optimization might be.

See this discussion...

Client links to SEO - Yay or Nay?

3:53 pm on June 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Not that I doubt the privacy, but I also ceased writing any seo based emails from my gmail account
8:10 pm on June 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Personally, although I see myself as an invisible SEO as my projects aren't after big money I *feel* sometimes that google is after me. Just because you are paranoid that doesn't mean they aren't after you.

I experience symptoms on my sites that has no logic and it wouldn't be an exaggeration if I said that these symptoms can never be algorithmic without human/manual interaction. Add to that I don't hide my visibility.

On the other hand I think to myself hey you are too small to be even considered by google. Also I see the big sharks walking freely and having total domination on SERPs for their niches. They even advertise that and google doesn't touch them.

If not for the forum rules I would have give proven examples. Conspiracy theory?

1:06 pm on June 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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How can we know that Google isn't tracking the names of all people involved in this thread? I for one won't be contributing to it through fear....oh....doh!


2:12 pm on June 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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There is a big difference between an SEO who writes good SE friendly copy and a deliberate SE attempted manipulator.

A trade customer recently contacted me asking why his new replacement business site was not ranking as well as his old site.

After checking through it all it was all very obvious to me and I advised the alterations to be made. Within a couple of weeks it was back near to the top of the SERPs.

It was really silly things like titlebars reading "blah blah blah blah blah keyword keyword" and, believe this or not, widget pages that didn't even have widget keywords anywhere except on the page, even the on-page widget images did not have alt or title attributes and, like many, the images were just given a generic.jpg reference.

Was this manipultion, no, it made far better and relevant copy for the spiders to take and serve up. After all, that's precisely what Google/Yahoo!/bing advises everyone to do.

Do I care if Google takes an interest in me? I would be soooooooo flattered:-)