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:
But, the top (organic) result now, is makemoneyforbeginners.blogspot.com. As Google tells us from its own snippet, “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.