A pretty interesting post made the first page of Hacker News the other
day regarding Expedia.com cheating using ‘guest blog posts’ to game Google. The
guy who outed them is a disgruntled SEO who’s got a bee in his bonnet
over penalties he received and is pissed that Google lets big
companies use the dangerous ‘white hat’ technique of “guest
It’s never nice to see people outed for using SEO but these are
emotional events and at least he’s taken a shot at the big boys who
are fair game? (it’s slippery at the top)…
Well well, normally when these events occur, there is an immediate
response from Google by way of Matt Cutts who hangs out on HN; when
rapgenius were outed a few days ago on HN, Cutts was all over that
story then shortly afterwards Rap genius was penalized..
This post on HN got nearly 500 votes which is huge and its clearly
caught everyone’s attention at Google. So whats up? Why silence on
Expedia who are still ranking top for the terms they were outed on!
Is the reason Google are thinking over something to do with Expedia or
instead is it something to do with the practice of ‘guest blogging’ in
general. When Google go quiet they are normally brewing up a storm,
they don’t like to be embarrassed and they work hard to protect the
perception that manipulating their SERPs is easy or possible or a good
idea. Everyone usually gets whacked when they are outed.
In this case id suspect Google are taking a better look at the
problem, see they have now been challenged to a duel and we know they
have been watching the gravity of SEO shifting towards guest blogging
over the last few years. They have made warnings that this will be bad
when it gets whacked.
Maybe Google are having trouble working out what a guest post is
algorithmically (in which case they might do it manually). Maybe there
is a fine line which they cant detect in many cases or maybe they want
the net to be totally full before they pull it in. This is my
preferred answer, see Google love penalties, this makes their
psychological war impact the largest number of offenders which also
has the spin off effect of pushing the largest amount of fresh blood
If they pulled this net in at the beginning a few years ago, the
payoff would be much less, they generally wait until they have the
biggest possible payoff. Every year they need something new to boost
profits and keep the so called war on spam in a constant state of
flux, ‘dampening the spirits of the remaining SEO offenders’ and
therefore they need these loopholes to be open for long enough to get
as many people addicted to their form of Crack as possible before Matt
‘cutts’ of their supply! Anyone then still addicted enough with any
amount of cash will then spend their profits with Adwords and Google’s
profits go even higher. Rinse and repeat!
So whats going to happen next? If Google penalize Expedia.com 1)
everyone will be outing others doing the same thing and that’s an
avalanche waiting to happen, 2) are Google ready for this? 3) and more
to the point they will have to clarify the status with guest blogs
posts and have a penalty system in place to dish out to offenders.
So whats the ‘guest blog post’ update / penalty going to be called?
Chameleon? And when is Chameleon going to be launched?
February would be my guess… remember where you heard it first!