There has been a lot of talk recently about the degradation of Google search results due to spam. In a nut shell, search engine optimization experts (much smarter than us about this stuff) argue that people are figuring out how to manipulate Google in order to rank highly in organic searches and as a result, search results have effectively become useless.
As an example, SEOmoz recently found that a search under the term “NFL Jerseys” found that the top 10 results were spam; not one of the results led you to NFL.com or any other legitimate site.
The problem is that people have figured out how to beat the system; how to rank at the top of search queries.
￼What fraudsters are doing?
Using the same techniques used to get “NFL Jerseys” to the top of search results, fraudsters are burying the not-so-flattering information.
Take for example a convicted fraudster, whose past indiscretions would show up at the top of Google’s results every time his name was searched. By creating online links in social networks (i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), purchasing domains, publishing press releases, and publishing blogs, fraudsters can “bury” the derogatory news article, lawsuit or message board posting below the first few pages of search results – which most people don’t typically navigate past.
Or take the example of a recent story of a fraudster who literally encouraged negative reviews so that people would link to his site, which would actually promote his site to the top of Google’s rankings for eyewear.
￼What you can do?
Google is still the most powerful search engine out there, so turning your back on it is not such a great idea. For the time being you may need to dig a little deeper in the search results in order to find what you are looking for until Google can figure out how to improve their search algorithm.
This may surprise people, but there are other search engines besides Google including Bing (although they have been accused of copying Google’s results) or upstarts Blekko and DuckDuckGo.
- You can’t always trust what you see on the Internet; somebody may have planted it there
- Just because you don’t find anything of interest on the first few pages of Google, doesn’t mean there is nothing “of interest” out there
- Press releases, self-promotional websites and self-reported information is not a “source” of fact-based information
- The Internet is not “neutral”; it’s an open forum for anyone to comment on just about anything, and unless it’s coming from a reputable source, it’s not fact based information…no matter how many times you see it
What do you think? Do Google search results suck for you too? What are you doing about it? Let us know in the comments?