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Thread: So... Who wants the Google Scoop of the year?

  1. #1
    WebProWorld MVP williamc's Avatar
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    So... Who wants the Google Scoop of the year?

    This is the first time this has been seen anywhere yet.

    For the first time we have a solid grasp of how Google is deciding what sites it deems are using 'Unnatural Linking' practices.

    This could well affect all of you, very easily.

    Someone came to me this morning with a rather odd scenario. She stated that Google had left a client of hers the dreaded unnatural linking notice in GWT, with example urls of pages it found unnatural links on. This part is nothing new really, but until now we had no idea how Google was deciding this...

    So, I checked out some of the urls, the one I was given this morning, and one I had gotten on another site a while back. Both had two things in common.

    They were both blog comments of high value and were actual particapatory in nature and relevence, meaning they were actually real comments, not garbage.

    That said, the first thing in common they both shared was the fact that neither ever got approved by the blogs admins. So the comments never actually displayed on the posted story in the comments area. So WTH was going on here, how was google seeing links that were submitted, but never displayed on the pages?

    I dug a little deeper and contacted the blog admin. He told me that he had gotten a whole slew of spam and had marked every comment as spam.

    . The answer after just a little bit of thought is simple, but seems to me to be Now, before I asked myself how in the world Google could possibly see comments posted on a blog that were never approved to display in the comments area of the story that they did not directly control.

    The answer is pretty simple really, once all the facts are taken into consideration, and that is that Google is getting a feed of comments that are marked as spam, and acting on that. Not a bad idea really, except that it is wide open to abuse pretty easily.

    I have to wonder what other means, similar in nature to this, that Google has access to that it uses to determine other types of unnatural links.
    William Cross
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  2. #2
    Senior Member SEOforGoogle's Avatar
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    Hi William - great insight! Did that blog happen to be hosted via blogger? If so, I think that could easily explain how Google had access. If not, then that certainly is an alarming discovery.

  3. #3
    WebProWorld MVP williamc's Avatar
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    No, both blogs were self hosted wordpress blogs.

    They didnt have access to the blogs. They had access to the feed of sites that wp users deny via the spam control link in WP apparently.
    William Cross
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    Moderator SteveGerencser's Avatar
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    Akismet footprints. Almost everyone using wordpress uses Akismet to flag spam.
    You can't create artful marketing with color by number seo

  5. The following user agrees with SteveGerencser:
  6. #5
    WebProWorld MVP williamc's Avatar
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    Steve, yes, and at least one notable SEO I spoke with thinks that Google may in fact have a stake in Akismet or be behind it in the first place even, which would prove interesting to say the least.
    William Cross
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  7. #6
    Senior Member SEOforGoogle's Avatar
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    Found and older article (2009) talking about this:
    http://www.thorschrock.com/2009/01/1...ings-decrease/

  8. #7
    WebProWorld MVP williamc's Avatar
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    Yes, that one actually dealt with trackbacks, not posted comments. But the observations are identical.
    William Cross
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    While it's quite possible that Google might be using Akismet data (if they are they're not using the public API because it wouldn't work the way it's set up..) we need to ask if this is just another case of correlation?

    If you ask me, it seems perfectly reasonable that sites who get a spammy link penalty would ALSO have a lot of comments denied on sites. I mean, if they're spamming links they're probably spamming comments. I think we're over interpreting the correlation here.

    Whether or not Google is using Akismet, it's most assuredly not the only signal they're using.. and it's probably just a coincidence that sites who get spam penalties also post spammy comments.

  10. #9
    WebProWorld MVP morestar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanJones View Post
    I think we're over interpreting the correlation here.

    Quote Originally Posted by williamc View Post
    They were both blog comments of high value and were actual particapatory in nature and relevence, meaning they were actually real comments, not garbage.
    Well it seems to be to be pretty clear that there is a relevant correlation here espcially considering the comments weren't approved and the admin admitted to deleting a slew of comments - valid ones too - obviously. If the comments were approved then we could ask and wonder why Google would mark them as spam but if they aren't approved then, as William mentioned, we now know - to a greater or lesser degree - that Google is indeed reading comments marked as spam and taking action thereafter.
    Last edited by morestar; 04-05-2012 at 01:09 PM.

  11. #10
    Moderator chrisJumbo's Avatar
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    Interesting thing about unnatural links, I got a request last night to delete contextual links from one of my blogs. The links were done with linked keywords within an article. So the webmaster requesting it must have had a link profile where to many links looked "too perfect" (conjecture on my part). It was easy enough to delete the links, but I should have asked him for more info.

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