Friday, December 27, 2013

Did Rap Genius cross the line with its search engine games? It's a potential trap for any site

Search engine strategy is always an important issue for me.  Today, the media reports how Google "punished” Rap Genius by pushing it way down in its search engine results, putting articles about it ahead. 
For example. Tech Crunch has a story here. ABC News has a story by John Chang yesterday here
Actually, the Wikipedia listing scores pretty high, and you can go to the URL from there, but you won’t see security company ratings then first.  Here’s the link  It calls itself a “Wikipedia of hip-hop”. Slate has a story that says, "if you have a lot of traffic from one source, it's not yours," link
The problem reminds me of another issue, “link farming”, a practice which can cause blogs to be classified as spam. 
One potential issue is that individuals often have different sites and blogs with different vendors. A person could use Blogger, Wordpress, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, maybe even all of these.  He or she could also have multiple domains, on different platforms (especially Windows v. Unix) in order to get different technical features.  I do that, as I explained yesterday, because the effectiveness of service providers and ISP’s and of various technologies varies with time.  It’s often necessary to cross-link between these entities to help users navigate.  That’s not done to improve search engine ranking; it’s done for users.  One idea would be for Google (or Bing, Ask, or Yahoo) to provide a way for an entity to list all of its sites in order to tell search engines that it will not try to unfairly game the system with links.
I get automated emails offering SEO all the time, and I ignore them. 

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