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Search engine optimization is filling the internet with trash

http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2005/03/66893?currentPage=all

This article is essentially about how search engine optimization through Google’s page-ranking system can be relatively easily manipulated to have a desired link reach the top 10 search results of Google. Greg Boser is a person who has made his living helping his clients make it into the top 10. There are many ways in which Boser can force his client’s links to the top results for certain keywords. There are some fairly legitimate ways whereby he plays the rules of Google’s pagerank against the existing merits of the company. There are also some fairly sneaky ways whereby he can brute-force fool the system through having bots spam ads which link to it, have an extreme quantity of random keywords visible only to Google’s pagerank which make the link have more references and many other equally irritating methods.

This situation is clearly¬†relevant to our study of Web link networks.¬†Unfortunately, however, a system which previously had a somewhat natural depiction of the popularity of links is now becoming corrupted. Once upon a time the search engine optimization would simply reflect which links had most relevance to the keywords entered into the search engine. For example if I searched for the best boston creme pie in town then I would probably get results that have to do with my current location, and keywords like boston,creme,pie, good, quality, tasty etc. However, through people like Greg Boser, the companies with the foresight to forcibly manipulate their popularity (as Google measures it) have tainted this system. Now, after the modern wave of Boser’s who rig the system, when I search for the best boston creme pie in town, the results at the top of the page are simply the ones that have been best manipulated to fool Google’s pageranking system, not necessarily the ones that have the most, or any, relevance to me. This state of affairs is great for revenue, no doubt, it means the most money for Google, for the sites who pay for the manipulation and for Boser, but it effectively degrades the quality of Google as a tool to find the information most relevant to my search. The golden age of free information is giving way to an endlessly crowded net with ads for viagra and purposeless websites that link to millions of others of equally purposeless websites.

– by Thomas Berg

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