Search Engines using Smoke and Mirrors to Hide Flaws

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Over at the ABestWeb affiliate forums X10, who deal in consumer electronics, are announcing a new feature to their affiliate program: A free website, all ready to go. Some of the members are concerned over “duplicate content” penalties and the X10 rep steps in to dispel a few myths about Search engines and ranking penalties.

The concern over duplicate content penalties is a very common one, and as Heather Paulson points out, it’s a myth. In fact, there are an enormous amount of myths floating about the affiliate and search marketing forums, particularly amongst those new to scene.

Some of those myths have been carefully planted and nurtured by the Search engines themselves, presumably in an effort to put the fear of god into newbie seo’s and affilate marketers and limit practices that can hurt Search relevancy. Some of them are almost certainly the work of over active imaginations on the part of the marketers and promoters.

Let me run through the points Heather makes in response to the duplicate content query and add some commentary on each.

Common Search Engine Penalty Myths

On Duplicate Content

MSN – Yahoo – AOL -Cnet – and thousands of other news websites all subscribe to the API news wires and other news feeds in various formats which are all duplicate content and they do not have any problems. There are thousands of blogs and other news sites that subscribe to syndicated XML news feeds which are duplicate content and they do not have a problem.

It’s hard not to get the point isn’t it? Think about the power needed to compare millions of documents for dupe content! We know that Google can do this on small scales, particularly on a domain level scale, but at the absolute worst it’s simple highly unlikely that you’d ever have a problem for similar content to another site.

Stealing Content with Frames

Google says it’s not possible for one site to frame another adn rank for the content it frames. Heather says this is not so, and although i’ve not seen evidence, largely as i’ve not looked for any, i’ve heard enough rumblings from the SEO crowd to say that there’s more than likely some problem with Googles assertion.

On PageRank

Have you noticed that low PR sites at times are highly placed in the engines? Page rank means nothing another wise tale.. (But they got you to download the toolbar!!)

It’s a no brainer, savvy search marketers have been ignoring PR for years, but the quote made me laugh, so there you have it…

On Hand Editing and Manual Removal of Sites

What company would hire a police department staff to go through trillions upon trillions of websites looking for Aunt Ednas hidden script on her make a doilly dot com site? This dosn’t make logical business sense, why would they spend a lot of money on a task force which produces no profit or revenue for the company and we all know Google and other engines are in the game to make money not spend in on policing thier consumer, Instead of doing this they tell you they are doing this which stops you from doing this.. Get it?

Emphasis mine. I’d have to partly disagree here, we know that Google and Yahoo both hand edit search results, but the extent to which they do this is infintisimally small, and generally only on high profile results, presumably the kind of results that could attract media attention should they be “dirty”.

More Sex, Lies, and Penalties in Search?

Do add any the post didnt cover, i think it’s quite a few. It would be interesting to find out what we collectively feel is bullshit and what we know to be true.

Wonderful stuff from ABW!

Nick Wilson is the publisher and founder of Threadwatch.org.

Threadwatch is a group blog, or forum if you prefer, focusing on Marketing and Related Technologies – News and discussion for those that make their living on the WWW – Register here to participate.

Search Engines using Smoke and Mirrors to Hide Flaws
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