Tracking the Evolution of Search SpammingAs part of their 10th birthday celebrations, Google recently released a 2001 index, to show us how much things have changed. It is fascinating to look into the past, especially from an SEO point of view. Has the nature of spam changed since 2001? How has Google changed in order to nullify the affects of spam? When Google filed their registration statement prior to IPO, Google identified a number of risk factors. One of these risks was:
- We are susceptible to index spammers who could harm the integrity of our web search results
- There is an ongoing and increasing effort by "index spammers" to develop ways to manipulate our web search results. For example, because our web search technology ranks a web page's relevance based in part on the importance of the web sites that link to it, people have attempted to link a group of web sites together to manipulate web search results. We take this problem very seriously because providing relevant information to users is critical to our success. If our efforts to combat these and other types of index spamming are unsuccessful, our reputation for delivering relevant information could be diminished. This could result in a decline in user traffic, which would damage our business."
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- The search results are much tighter and much more well policed. You wouldn't find the penis-envy.com site's link exchange page ranking in Google's 2008 search results for Paxil search queries.
- Google used to match keyword strings a lot more than it does today. This is the reason why a lot of on-page optimization techniques have become redundant, and the reason why effective on page optimization in 2008 is more about diversity than repeating words.
- Blogs have came from an obscure force to category leaders in many markets.
- If you happen to be searching outside the US, Google now incorporates, and boosts, regional results.
- Google now incorporates YouTube, news, and other related informational sources, thus forcing results from smaller sites further down the page
- There used to be a lot more hyphenated domain names showing up top ten. Not so much these days.
- Wikipedia, then called Nupedia, had only just started in 2001, so wasn't yet appearing in every single search result ;)
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