I hope you had a good Father's day. Last month the New York Times ran the article, Trying to Game Google on ‘Mother’s Day Flowers, that demonstrates the unintended consequences of Google’s approach to search. Of course, Google remains the gold standard of Web search but this is in part, because of its constant watch for cheaters. The article reported that internet marketing experts say that several well known flower sellers are trying to elevate their Web sites in search results with a strategy that violates Google’s guidelines.
While the companies deny it, they all have links on Web sites that are riddled with paid links, many of which include phrases like “mothers day flowers,” “mothers day arrangements” and “cheap mothers day flowers.” As the Times said, anyone who clicks on those backlinks, as they are known, gets sent to the floral retailer who paid for them.
This is risky because if Google catches companies in link-buying schemes, they are often penalized by being sent way down in its search results, sometimes for months. When confronted by the Times, Google’s Jake Hubert, sent this statement: “None of the links shared by The New York Times had a significant impact on our rankings, due to automated systems we have in place to assess the relevance of links. As always, we investigate spam reports and take corrective action where appropriate.”
In other words, while they were trying to cheat, Google felt they were not effective so they were not going to penalize them. This is like saying a badly botched robbery is not a crime because of the incompetence of the crooks. But then this is not an actual crime, just a misuse of links to game a system that is susceptible to it.
The Times quoted one person on conditions of confidentiality that she received $30 a month to post a “mothers day flowers” link on her home page. Of course, as the Times notes, “it is impossible to double-check Google’s conclusion that few of the links of the florist companies helped in search results. The particulars of Google’s algorithm are shrouded in secrecy for the same reason that a bank does not publicize the route to its vault.”
This is why we use a different approach for the Darwin Awareness Engine™. Rather than using an external framework that is open to gaming to organize search results, The Awareness Engine makes use of Chaos Theory based algorithms that let the content self organize. You cannot SEO or spam it unless you control the entire set of targeted content. Links to do not matter, only content. Now, the Darwin Awareness Engine is not designed to replace Google but it can be used to complement it and find the content that you might not expect or know to look for in an area of interest.