Google Webspam Update: Where's The Viagra? [Updated]

Chris CrumSearch

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Update: Viagra.com is back at number one.

As you may know, Google launched a new algorithm update, dubbed the Webspam Update. According to Google, it's designed to keep sites engaging in black hat SEO tactics from ranking. The update is still rolling out, but it's already been the target of a great deal of criticism. You can just peruse the comments on Google's Webmaster Central blog post announcing the change, and see what people have to say.

I can't confirm that Viagra.com was number one in Google for the query "viagra," but I can't imagine why it wouldn't have been. Either way, viagra.com is not the lead result now. That is, unless you count the paid AdWords version.

Google Viagra results

As you can see, the top organic result comes from HowStuffWorks.com. Then comes....Evaluations: Northern Kentucky University? Interesting. Here's what that page looks like:

Northern Kentucky University

You'll notice that this has absolutely nothing to do with Viagra.

Browsing through some more of the results, there are some other very suspicious activity going on. Look at this result, which points to : larryfagin.com/poet.html. That URL does't sound like it would have anything to do with Viagra, yet Google's title for the result says: "Buy Viagra Online No Prescription. Purchase Generic Viagra..." and the snippet says: "You can buy Viagra online in our store. This product page includes complete information about Viagra. We supply Viagra in the United Kingdom, USA and ..."

If you actually click on the result, it has nothing to do with Viagra. It's about a poet named Larry Fagin. Not once is Viagra mentioned on the page.

Larry Fagin

Also on the first results page: aiam.edu. That's the American Institute of Alternative Medicine. At least it's semi-drug-related. However, once again, no mention of Viagra on this page, though the title and snippet Google is providing, again, indicate otherwise. Google also informs us, "this site may be compromised". I'm not sure what about this particular result is telling Google's algorithm that it should be displayed on page one.

The next result is for loislowery.com:

Lois Lowery

You guessed it. Yet again, nothing to do with Viagra. And once again, Google displays a Viagra-related title and snippet for the result, and tells us the site may compromised.

Note: Not all of these results indicate that they've been compromised.

A few people have pointed out the oddities of Google's viagra SERP in the comments on Google's announcement of the webspam algorithm change:

Sean Jones says, "There is something wrong with this update. Search 'viagra' on Google.com - 3 edu sites are showing in the first page. Is it relevant? Matt you failed."

Lisaz says, "These results have to be a complete joke, so much unrelated content is now surfaced to the top it's sickening. As a funny example check this one out....Search VIAGRA and look at the results on first page for USA queries. Two completely unrelated .edu's without viagra or ED in their content. Another site about poetry with not even a mention of viagra anywhere to be found. Then two more sites that in google that have this site may be compromised warnings. LOL what a joke this update is. Sell your Google stocks now while you can."

ECM says, "Google.com. buy viagra online. Position 2... UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND lol. I have seen a big mess in results now. Doesn't this algo change just allow spammers to bring down competitors a lot more easily, just send a heap of junk/spam links to their sites. Nice one google, you're becoming well liked. Enter BING."

How's Bing looking on Viagra these days?

Bing Viagra Results

Yeah, I have to give Bing the edge on this one.

And Yahoo:

Yahoo Viagra Results

And Blekko:

Blekko Viagra Results

And DuckDuckGo:

DuckDuckGo Viagra Results

We've seen people suggesting that the new Google update had a direct effect on exact match domain names. That could explain why viagra.com is MIA. However, it doesn't exactly explain why some of these other results are appearing.

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Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.