Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Blog Wars - Matt vs Jeremy - "Extremism in the defense of the Google Algorithm is no vice?"

Two of my very favorite techno blogger all-around-great guys, Matt Cutts and Jeremy Zawodny, have created a very spirited online debate about a recent paid linking experiment at Jeremy's blog. Thanks in large part to Matt's efforts over the past few years paid linking has become a very controversial topic and tactic for SEOs. Most I've talked to still employ the tactic and feel it works, but try to keep it "under the radar screen" of Google.

Search engines, especially Google, see paid linking as a serious manipulation of the ranking algorithm. Matt indicates they have many ways to detect this type of linking algorithmically and I'd guess they have a pretty robust database of sites that offer and resell paid links.

Generally Google recommends adding the "nofollow" tag for paid links, or using alternative forms of advertising. In fairness to some criticism adsense and adwords are effectively "nofollow" forms of ads, not counting in the pagerank calculations for pages at a site.

HOWEVER and importantly, it seems to me the debate is not really about linking, but about *excessive penalties* for things seen as hurting the indexing process.

Matt's posts imply that in the war on spam, Google may be following the very controversial notions espoused by uber conservative Barry Goldwater some time ago talking about Viet Nam War. Goldwater said "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice".

Matt - are you saying: "Extremism in the defense of the Google Algorithm is no vice?" I hope not.

Sure you can execute people for running a stop light, and this will reduce traffic violations, but it's not a prudent social change mechanism for obvious reasons. And it's evil. Google, please don't be evil.

JoeDuck's Blog


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