What wins on the web? Is it content or knowing how search engines work? A recent New York Times articlesuggests that content cannot do it all alone. It details how a search engine optimizing (SEO) firm purchased links from thousands of websites to boost retailer J.C. Penneys rankings to the top of Googles search rankings in 2010.
This and other experiences led Google to rewrite the risk factors in a 10-K they recently filed with regulators, as noted by footnoted.com. The language is explicit on how web search results can be manipulated (and how the schemes might be a threat to Google’s viability).
For example, some website owners will link groups of websites together by either acquiring them or through a co-operative arrangement to boost rankings. Then there are the content farms, or websites that generate vast volumes of low-qualitymaterial optimized for search engines through techniques such as emphasizing key words. This, of course,is allwell known within SEO and blogging circles.
Google recently announced amendments to its search algorithm in responsetowhat it described as asurge in index spam in the second half of 2010. But could it be a never ending cat-and-mouse game? Manipulating search results is big business now: indeed, one of the content farms, Demand Media, just went public in January on the New York Stock Exchange.