By Matt Anton
Imagine the excitement when the internet was first created. Al Gore..err Tim Berners-Lee would be rolling over in his grave (he’s actually still alive) if he knew the additional game he opened up – online marketing. Ralph Waldo Emerson eloquently stated “Hitch your wagon to a star”, and that’s what we are doing. Google is the singular dominate gatekeeper to the internet, and therefore they are in large part the internet – do you hitch your wagon to Yahoo? Didn’t think so.
It wasn’t long before the first ever blog post went up that someone posted, “hey great post, check out my website”; better known as the dawn of internet spam. The Google Gods saw this spam and loved it. The more people that were backlinking (voting/talking) about you the better. SEO opportunists saw this and began to obtain backlinks from every blog and forum. The Gods had more links to find and all was well in the world, until a critical mass was reached.
The cat is out of the bag for the most part with Search Engine Optimization. Yes, there are advanced techniques, but essentially nothing is completely new under the Sun. Now, everyone and their Mom is offering seo services. In one way or another, if you are participating in link building you are gaming the system – whether you call it white hat, black, gray, or purple pink pocka dot, it’s for one purpose – artificially increase your rankings. But, don’t hate the player, hate the game is a beautifully simplistic form of what’s going on.
Webmasters are buying blog posts, blogrolls, sitewides/footer links, homepage links, link exchanges. Chances are you’ve seen someone post on your favorite forum agreeing emphatically with the OP (Original Poster) only to see his forex signature link skillfully placed below.
Web 2.0 sites such as free blog hosting platforms and article directories are spammed to no end. There are even programs out there to accomplish this. The ONLY reason for doing this is to trick Google…BECAUSE Google values links from these properties. Again, it’s part of the game, so we continue to be the play things of the gods. Imagine registering to 50 web 2.0 sites such as blogger or wordpress if there was absolutely no benefit other than referral traffic? I’m guessing the web 2.0 landscape would look much differently.
The Gods kept webmasters in constant fear. Some would get “caught” while others did not. It was much like getting a speeding ticket while going with traffic – you just won the reverse lottery! Imagine, they dictate you have received too many blogroll links, or you sponsored too many blogger or wordpress themes. Get to the back of the line and keep your mouth shut. SEOers are the modern day Internet Rosa Parks. Hubpages refused to be an Uncle Tom and spoke out against the slap against its property, while Youtube actually increased – how is that remotely legal considering Google owns Youtube? Ezinearticles Chris Knight should have let his balls drop and switched over to a different advertising platform. And yet, new article directories, blogs, and forums are popping up daily; most of them suck, but because they aren’t that big yet, they will enjoy the Google Gravy train until their plate becomes a little too big and Webpronews starts bitching about it endlessly. Ehow saw this and is moving away from Google dependence, hitching its wagon to Facebook.
So here we are. Blogs and Forums are fair game to be spammed, but now a “new” category of websites such as Social Media and Social networks are emerging. And the scariest quote by one of the main henchman is “Yes I can confirm we do use Twitter and Facebook Links in Rankings…We ARE using this as a Signal…”Matt Cuts, Google Search, Chief Engineer. OH BOY HERE WE GO!
I personally know people with over 100k Twitter accounts and Facebook Accounts. Imagine how tight their jeans were fitting in the crouch area once they read that quote. You can make it artificially appear that 100,000 people are all talking about your cure for acne, or how to get rid of elephantitis or “insert your shitty niche here”.
Spam will always exist. It did in emails, and it will regardless of the SEO impact, but does Google (which is the internet) counting these backlinks force the hands of SEOers to “use” this medium the way it’s done to the blogosphere and forumsphere? Is it time we grow up and realize that “too much usage” is just being a power user and not half-assing it like most people do their entire lives? Are manual slaps to hide a flawed system? Will counting social media links in Google lead to more obfuscation and confusion, to an already bewildering system? Be sure to Share this on Facebook and retweet.