Friday, 6 July 2007

Google Failing to Combat Link Spam

In spite of recent suggestions by Google that they are clamping down on sites using link spam to manipulate search results it seems the search engine is still struggling to introduce a solution to effectively tackle the problem.

Traffic from Google is an extremely valuable commodity and some sites will stop at nothing to secure top rankings for lucrative keywords. One of the main factors that determine how well your site ranks is the quality of links that point to it. These act as votes for your sites authority and help to improve your position within the search results.

In an ideal world Google wants site owners to naturally link to other sites they find useful and relevant. However some sites will use methods discouraged by Google to artificially inflate the number of links pointing to the site in order to boost its positions.

This battle has been going on for years, with some sites continually inventing dubious tactics to influence search results and search engines repeatedly updating their algorithms to protect the quality of the service they provide.

The recent penalty imposed on, who had blatantly acquired millions of links to their site, suggested Google was taking a stand, sending out a message that these actions would not be tolerated. lost their number one ranking for a number of profitable keywords and their brand name.

It was thought this move would proclaim the next stage in search engine evolution but it seems this was a false dawn.

Now, discussion within the online community has highlighted another site,, using the same underhand tactics as and enjoying long term success in manipulating Google’s results.

At the time of writing currently sits atop of Google for highly rewarding keywords such as mortgages, loans and credit cards.

Not normally considered an authority in these areas have acquired millions of poor quality back links to their site using highly questionable methods (often referred to by industry experts as “black hat”) to artificially enhance their rankings. It is hard to imagine the site is as popular and well known as the home pages of sites such as The BBC, Wikipedia and Adobe.

This transparent and devious approach has seen hold these positions for several months, effectively laughing in the face of the world’s greatest search engine.

Debate within forums such as SEO Chat and blogs such as Insiders View have attacked the actions of and questioned Google’s ability to successfully fight back and restore the quality of, and trust in, their search results.

It’s well known that any search engine, even one as powerful as Google, lives and dies by the quality of service it provides. The onus is now on Google to show they are capable of winning this battle against link spam and restore the quality of search results on which its success is built.

Google, it’s over to you.