According to Brendan O'Connor of The Awl, Google's latest change in their search algorithm -- lovingly called Penguin -- has been causing problems to all those SEO spammers shoving links in other people's website comments: the sites they are advertising drop from Google's first page to fifth -- or even tenth. And when was the last time you looked that far in your search results?
Given how ubiquitous the act of Googling something has become, it is easy to forget how much goes into returning search results. "Google's algorithm takes into account dozens of criteria," wrote the New York Times in 2011, after J.C. Penney was penalized for having paid a search-engine optimization firm to place incoming links around the web. "But it has described one crucial factor in detail: links from one site to another."
Essentially, the more your site is linked to across the web, the higher Google will rank you, and links from sites that are similar to your own are better than links from sites that have nothing to do with anything. Over time, the quality of those links has become more and more important. (This 43-page PDF from Google is more specific, if you're really interested.)
Those links, in part, have an effect on one's placement in search results. Many of the J.C. Penney spam links were published on web sites that seemed to exist solely for that purpose: as a space for spam links to live. Out of the way, they never intruded directly on the experience of the average internet user (who may or may not be a robot anyway).
But: what's the easiest way to place a link on a site you don't own? Why, it's blog comments.
|Real Enemy of Society isn't Wall Street, But Advertising and the Poison It Tell Us|
|Pay With a Tweet: Sell Your Product for the Cost of a Tweet|
|Rube Goldberg Device Plays Bach|
|Joe La Pompe: Advertising Copycats|
|"You look in the mirror and see your body and your face and you think that’s you—but that’s really just the machine you’re riding in."|
|"This created a bubble, and like housing, that bubble has now burst."|
|"Academics who study basic income said the pilot gives a chance to see how the idea plays in a changed economy."|
|Where AI is Currently At|
|“Trump is what happens when you fail to understand our global problems in their interconnected, systemic context.”|
|"A spacecraft may be possible that could maintain a steady acceleration into and through interstellar space without the need to carry along propellants."|
|"John Deere is the largest operator of autonomous vehicles."|
|The End of Doodling|
|Religious Loophole to Turn Lights On and Off During Shabbat|
|"Super-detailed scans of actual human brains that run as models on computers"|
|Extinct Alien Civilisations|