Google Webspam Update: “Make Money Online” Query Yields Less Than Quality Result

    April 26, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Update: It looks like the top result has been changed now.

Google announced a big algorithm change called the Webspam update. It’s in the process of rolling out, and is designed to penalize sites engaging in black hat SEO – activities that are direct violations of Google’s quality guidelines. In theory, it sounds like a good idea, but users are already complaining about the negative effects the update seems to have had on results.

We looked at some weird things going on with Google’s results page for the query “viagra”. For one, viagra.com is not ranking at the top. This would be the obvious, most relevant choice. Most search engines agree, based on their rankings. Now, it’s nowhere to be found on the first results page for the query in Google. There are other weird results showing up as well.

The lack of viagra.com might be explained as an issue having to do with exact match domains. People have already been talking about this in forums, and in the comments of Google’s blog post. The update, according to various webmasters, appears to have hit a fair amount of exact match domains. For example, viagra.com for the query “viagra”.

Of course, not every exact match domain for every query is missing. For example, if you search “webpronews,” you’re still going to get WebProNews.com. But perhaps there is a subset of queries that tend to have more spam targeting that were hit in this manner, and even in a case like Viagra, in which the exact match actually is the most relevant result, the algorithm is not picking up on that.

We’ve seen a few people point out Google’s SERP for “make money online”. I don’t know that makemoneyonline.com was the top result for this before anyway. It certainly should not be:

Make Money Online

But, the top (organic) result now, is makemoneyforbeginners.blogspot.com. As Google tells us from its own snippet, “No posts. No posts.”

No Posts

I don’t personally believe that the fact that it’s on Blogger (Google-owned) is much of a factor here, but it’s probably worth pointing out, given that Google is often accused of favoring its own content in search results.

Here’s what that page looks like:


Hardly the “quality content” Google is demanding of webmasters these days.

To be fair, Bing’s ranking this result too, for some reason. It’s not number one on Bing, but it’s number 3. Why is it there at all? It could be related to that whole Bing using Google results thing Google called Bing out on last year. It’s the same on Yahoo, which of course uses Bing on the back-end.

  • http://www.LAokay.com Steve G

    The makemoneyonline site has a lot of backlinks, but the point that it’s a parked page and Google doesn’t realize this could mean that Google has issues with detecting parked pages perhaps?

  • http://senseofmoney.com Sense of Money

    Yea, I noticed the same thing. That blog has NO content yet its ranking #1 for a highly competitive keyword — and it wasn’t there at all some time ago. Maybe Google is considering black hat links again? Who knows, I just hope they get this fixed as soon as possible.

  • http://mesaazdentist.com Joe@ mesaazdentist.com

    Oops! makemoneyforbeginners.blogspot.com/ disappeared from SERP.
    Does it mean that Matt Cutts is reading Chris Crum’s articles and doing handmade corrections in the algorithm? :)

    • Venk

      Looks like….joke of the day 😉

  • http://www.fionndownhill.com Fionn Downhill

    My guess is that it was removed by hand because its embarassing. I would like to think that it was removed by algo and they are tweaking the mess. Google no longer ranks for the term ‘search engine’ or related type of term. How on earth is that a relevant result. I am sure if I typed search engine I would expect to see the #1 search engine in the world listed #1.

  • http://makemoneyonlinegetstarted.blogspot.in Javed Shaikh (make money online)

    I don,t think spiders can find most relevant content,
    as in the case of makemoneyforbeginners.blogspot.com Spiders are preset and if they find the query in your domain they will show it up even if you dont have any content, i dont understand what kind of algorithm is that.

  • http://www.replica-sunglasses.co.uk/mens-sunglasses/ Lisa

    What i believe is the following factors work

    quality backlinks
    site with lot of quality backlinks for ages 2-3 yrs
    age of the domain

    But i believe that google has targeted services based sites a lot and in few days will come to know the reality.

    • http://borber.info borber

      in few days will come to know the reality.
      – but how??

  • Jay

    There is so many edu sites appear when you search for viagra .

  • http://www.wedgeim.com Wedge Internet Marketing

    Content is King, isnt that what every Cuttlet has been spewing all year. This just proves that is BS. Backlinking is King is whats the truth. Proof is in the pudding

  • http://www.singlemomfinancialhelp.com/ Vijay

    My site is getting more traffic from Bing and yahoo Probably Google is not showing relevant result so people are switching to Bing and Yahoo, Too early to draw conclusion though does any else feel the same.

  • http://ultimatemarketingstrategies.net Peter Sundstrom

    The Blogger site used to have thousands of pages indexed by Google, so it has some history and a ton a backlinks.

    Would be interesting to know if it has dropped out of the SERPs due to a manual adjustment or a “tweak” to the penguin rollout.

  • Thomas

    In your opinion, what do you consider more value…13 year old domain or EMD? The 13 year domain does not have any keywords relevant to the website niche, however it has 2 generic words that make the domain very easy to rememeber. It should also be noted the 13 year old domain is a .com and the EMD is a .org, although I suspect that doesn’t matter much as I’ve never had any problems ranking .net/.org. Would love to hear your opinion on this. Thanks.

  • http://richardcummings.info Richard Cummings

    That is too funny about that “make money online” result. The previous owner of that blog is someone named Grizzly Bear, who was a master of “pre-Panda” SEO. All of the content from this blog had to be moved because Google kept threatening him. Read more about that here: http://grizzlybrears.com/about/

    And is this update effecting exact match domains? You bet. My domain name is my name, Richard Cummings, which use to always rank between 3-9 on the first page. I don’t really do any SEO for the site and every word is original and written by me.

    Yet, it’s an exact match and probably got penalized.

    The problem with all of these algorithmic updates is that the good is wiped out with the bad. It is true that many people try to buy exact match domains to benefit from that exact search. Some of them then create EXTREMELY thin, lame content and they should be removed as Google is trying to do. But they should be removed for the THIN content, not the exact match.

    The example you gave of Viagra is the perfect one. You mentioned above that it has been fixed but, as I write this from Argentina (and thus probably a different data center), it is not even on the first page. This site is: http://viagrasupply.net/ (and that is a search of google.com not google.com.ar).

    So, I think they still have a little work left :)

    Anyway, cheers for the great article,

  • http://www.kimoftheworld.com Web Strategy

    I have linked to this post citing it for the keyword make money online… there are other keywords, many other keywords proving that this Penguin update can be worse than Panda.

  • http://eeasymoneymakingonline.blogspot.com/ Sean Emerson Santos

    Making money online is really one sure and fun way to get money scattered around you. You just need to have the right passion and attitude for it.

  • http://eeasymoneymakingonline.blogspot.com Sean Ray

    I guess social media update is very important for people who spend so much time in the internet and online business as well…

  • http://harounkola.com Haroun Kola

    Out of the billion or so results in the SERPs for this term, perhaps my little blog will have a chance now. lol

  • http://workathome.spacepoke.com Tom Luicky

    Sometimes you need to be lucky to make it in any business. But if you put a lot of hard work in, your changes get a lot better.