Despairing of Google

Sometimes I really do want to beat my head off the keyboard! Like many others who may be reading this I epouse ethical search engine optimisation techniques. I advise clients not to use any of the spammer’s tricks and to produce quality content. I tell them not to use hidden text or dodgy redirects or spammy meta-tags, that Google and the other engines will pick that stuff up and kick them out of the indexes.

And then what do Google do? I’ll demonstrate.

For quite some time I’ve ranked number one in Google for “Scottish SEO consultant”. I’m not precious about it, there are some excellent SEO consultants in Scotland and I’m happy to be in amongst them – the phrase happens to be in my blog title so that gives me an advantage on that one out of scores of other similar phrases. Tonight I checked some of my rankings as Google has been erratic again recently (coincidence with the big PageRank debacle?) and saw that I was down to number six for that phrase. No problem, noticed that Shaun Anderson’s Hobo site was above me, that’s ok it’s a damn good site. A bit peaved to notice that above him was a company in Derbyshire (with a greyed out PR bar!) whose only connection to Scotland seems to be that they did a site for a Scottish property company.

But what really got my back up was the site at number one –
Work at Home – company scotland seo directory

This is basically a directory search result on a site that advertises franchise businesses and is crammed full of Adsense ads and padded out with Google News items. But that’s not what really bugged me. If you visit that page go and view the source code and look at the meta-keywords tag. For those of a non-technical disposition or who would rather not visit it I’ll describe it. I copied it into a Word document to check the number of characters. It filled 9 pages! It has 5622 words, and 41,653 characters!! These include such relevant terms as “abraham lincoln”, “angelina jolie”, “Black Sabbath”, and yes, you guessed it “Britney Spears”.

This is what the world’s most popular search engine thinks is the most relevant site for “Scottish SEO consultant”. A company full of the finest brains in the world who spend enormous amounts of time devising methods of catching spam, and they can’t find a page which has a keywords tag full of total unmitigated spam.

Matt Cutts, are you listening?!!! Because as long as this sort of stuff is not only allowed through the indexes but actually gets to the top of search results your appeals for webmasters to do stuff like add “nofollow” to links are totally laughable. It undermines any chance of ethical SEOs nudging our clients in the right direction towards quality sites.

I’m off to find another keyboard, this one’s got a dent in it.

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