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.
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|"The problem for publishers is that most ad blockers don't just block annoying or intrusive ads -- they block everything."|
|The Metro Toronto Zoo's Polar Bear Colouring Book|
|“Eliminating the time needed to stop and re-charge a conventional electric car’s battery.”|
|“Nobody is forcing the participants to stay, of course, but if they leave, they won’t be paid.”|
|“That science fiction future where robots can do what people and animals do may be closer than you think.”|
|Making a Movie Inside a Video Game|
|“This 160-step biochemical process is very well studied, and surprisingly inefficient.”|
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|“During this phase of decline, the US was likely to go through a phase of reactionary 'fascism'.”|
|“We’re going to start to see chip implants get the same realm of acceptance as piercings and tattoos.”|
|“The shift from fuel and pistons to batteries and electric motors is unlikely to take that long.”|
|“Our Internet handlers, not government, are using operant conditioning to modify our behaviour today.”|
|“Within 30 years, half of humanity won't have a job. It could get ugly — there could be a revolution.”|
|“After 78 years, the helicopter has been reinvented.”|