Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Do You Know What Google is Doing to Andy Beard?

Niche Marketing - Andy Beard has exposed some problems with the Google algorithm and syndicated content. He shares this problem with his readers.

Apparently, Andy wrote a blog post about dofollow plug-ins. Being quality content, it was syndicated by WebProNews.

Within a matter of weeks, the original blog post was judged by Google to be less relevant than the syndicated content, even though the syndicated contact contained a link back to the original article on Niche Marketing. The original content was dropped from the Google search engine result pages (SERPs) and the syndicated content replaced it.

Supposedly, this trick is explained by the following blog post:

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Deftly dealing with duplicate content
Syndicate carefully: If you syndicate your content on other sites, make sure they include a link back to the original article on each syndicated article. Even with that, note that we'll always show the (unblocked) version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you'd prefer.
Let me get this right. If I write good content that is syndicated to other sites, I may find my content bumped on Google SERPs by my own content. Do I have it now?

Next, Andy Beard saw this post about paid links on Matt Cutts blog:

Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO » How to report paid links
As far as the details, it can be pretty short. Something like “ is selling links; here’s a page on that demonstrates that” or “ is buying links. You can see the paid links on” is all you need to mention. That will be enough for Google to start testing out some new techniques we’ve got — thanks! (emphasis mine)
Being a nice guy, Andy reported his own paid links. He was trying to be helpful while Google played in their sandbox instead of analyzing the thousands of spam links and splogs that have been reported over the years.

One of the paid links that Andy reported was his review of the Volusion Shopping Cart. It is a well-written review that demonstrates a depth of knowledge and time-consuming research that is rarely seen in a review. The review is substantive content that is useful to many people who are seeking information on shopping cart applications, not to mention the competitors of Volusion.

Mr. Beard states that he soon discovered that on the Google Toolbar:
The Volusion review was giving a grey bar, as were the tag pages leading from it because they were duplicate content. . . This didn't concern me, the page was still ranking high for the single term "volusion", and first for "volusion review" (without quotes), despite having a little competition from other blogs who reviewed Volusion at the same time, under similar terms. I was still seeing traffic to the review.
Andy had also tagged his post with four tags that were spot on topic. The tag, Volusion, was indexed by Google; however, the tags Volusion Review, Volusion Shopping Cart and Shopping Cart Review were not indexed or were banned.

Meanwhile, a shopping cart review site requested permission to syndicate Andy Beard's review of the Volusion Shopping Cart. Andy Beard gave permission, a link back to original article was accomplished, and a track back received. Everything was great until the syndicated article dropped out of the SERPs too.

Google has declared that the original article and the syndicated article are, for all intents and purposes, web spam. Google has done it again. Make a mountain out of a molehill.

Web Spam! Duplicate Content! Spawn of the Google Toolbar! Defiler of the RSS feed!

Slack time in the summer for Google, I guess. You would think they would work on items that matter, like click fraud, SPLOGS, censure in China, privacy issues, net neutrality, the Blogger platform. I could go on, but I will not.


OUCH said...

It might be only a temporary thing, I think they won't punish him.

Karen said...

Wow! It seems like google should follow its own rules.

Elizabeth said...

That makes absolutely no sense at all. It's not like Andy is trying to cheat Google at their own game or anything.

I tagged you for the 8 rules meme!

CyberCelt said...

@ouch-You think? If they do, he will just write about them again.

@karen-I think they just make them up as they go along.


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