Mahalo.com: Meet the New Spam, Worse than the Old Spam

Last week, after Matt Cutts gave Jason Calacanis a warning about Mahalo.com’s spammier pages (and probably a few stern looks as well), Jason changed a few items. He had them rename their spambot from “searchclick” to “stub”, thinking a less obvious name would throw off anyone looking into the spam situation. Very briefly they added a noindex meta tag to the content-less pages (a change that they then undid after just one day, of course). Probably the biggest change that they made, however, is that they decided to actually turn off (for now anyways) the bot that was creating all of those pages that were nothing more than scraped content.

What then, you may ask yourself, is Jason going to replace all of these pages with, exactly? I know that’s what I was asking. As I pointed out

Read moreMahalo.com: Meet the New Spam, Worse than the Old Spam

Jason Calacanis Makes Matt Cutts A Liar

Last week at SMX West, during the Ask The Search Engines panel, moderator Danny Sullivan asked Matt Cutts why he didn’t ban Mahalo.com for spamming Google. Matt stated that he had talked to Jason Calacanis, Mahalo.com CEO, about the issues, and warned him that Google might “take action” if Jason didn’t make some changes to the spammy side of Mahalo. Matt also made the following statement, in reference to Aaron Wall’s post on the subject:

All the pages Aaron pointed out now have noindex on them. – Matt Cutts

Matt was referring to all of the autogenerated pages that both Aaron I blogged about in our posts, the ones with

Read moreJason Calacanis Makes Matt Cutts A Liar

Apparently Jason Calacanis Knows He’s Spamming – He Just Thinks It’s No Big Deal

Last month Jason Calacanis wrote a rather sarcastic post aimed at Aaron Wall, which I am assuming was written in response to Aaron’s post, “Black Hat SEO Case Study: How Mahalo Makes Black Look White!“. In it Aaron discusses how sites that are composed largely of nothing more than auto-generated pages wrapped in adsense can get accepted and even gain authority in Google if they have enough financing and press. In Jason’s rebuttal to this was a claim about rankings that Mahalo had “earned” (and I use the term loosely) for “VIDEO GAME walkthrough”. I originally misinterpreted what he was trying to say, and thought that he meant rankings for that exact phrase. I commented how that wasn’t exactly a great accomplishment before realizing that what he actually meant was rankings for [{insert video game name} walkthrough], and that Mahalo has a couple top 10 rankings for that genre of search phrases.

Jason sent me an email to correct me on what he was talking about. We replied to each other back and forth a couple times, and a few very interesting things were revealed in that conversation:

Read moreApparently Jason Calacanis Knows He’s Spamming – He Just Thinks It’s No Big Deal

Google Decides To Slow Down Search Results And Cloak Their New Tracking URLS

Today over at ReadWriteWeb Sarah Perez wrote an article on how Google was gaining ground on their share of the search market. In the article she talked about the latest buzz from Google Analytics blog having to do with changes to the way Google.com handles clicks in their serps, which were a implemented as result of what Google would break in analytics packages by implementing AJAX driven search results. She notes that even though the speed benefit Google gains from going AJAX would be minimal on a per-search basis, when multiplied by the millions of searches performed every day it would eventually add up to more of a market share for them.

Although a change to AJAX technology would only make searches milliseconds faster, those milliseconds add up, allowing people to do more searches, faster. And that would let Google grow even more, eating up percentage points along the way. – Sarah Perez

However, what was missed by many

Read moreGoogle Decides To Slow Down Search Results And Cloak Their New Tracking URLS

Google Re-initiates Testing of AJAX SERP’s With Faulty Proposed Fix

Last month I blogged about the fact that I had noticed that Google was playing around with delivering the SERP’s via AJAX. I pointed out that due to the way that referrers work, using AJAX to generate the pages would cause all traffic coming from Google to look like it was coming from Google’s homepage instead of from a search. This means in turn that analytics packages, including Google Analytics, would no longer be able to track what keywords searched on in Google were sending traffic to the webmaster’s websites. There was a bit of a buzz about it, and Google seemed to stop the testing shortly thereafter. Google’s only reply on the subject was “sometimes we test stuff”, to point to a post from three years ago that also said, “sometimes we test stuff”, to say that they didn’t intend to break referrer tracking, and that was it.

Shortly thereafter, the tests

Read moreGoogle Re-initiates Testing of AJAX SERP’s With Faulty Proposed Fix

SERPs Scrapers, Rejoice! Matt Cutts Endorses Indexing Of Search Results In Google!

That’s right… today Matt Cutts completely reversed his opinion on pages indexed in Google that are nothing more than copies of auto-generated snippets.

Back in March of 2007, Matt discussed search results within search results, and Google’s dislike for them:

In general, we’ve seen that users usually don’t want to see search results (or copies of websites via proxies) in their search results. Proxied copies of websites and search results that don’t add much value already fall under our quality guidelines (e.g. “Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.” and “Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches…”), so Google does take action to reduce the impact of those pages in our index.

But just to close the loop on the original question on that thread and clarify that Google reserves the right to reduce the impact of search results and proxied copies of web sites on users, Vanessa also had someone add a line to the quality guidelines page. The new webmaster guideline that you’ll see on that page says “Use robots.txt to prevent crawling of search results pages or other auto-generated pages that don’t add much value for users coming from search engines.” – Matt Cutts

Now, while the Google Webmaster Guidelines still specifically instruct webmasters to

Read moreSERPs Scrapers, Rejoice! Matt Cutts Endorses Indexing Of Search Results In Google!

Matt Cutts, If This Paid Link Were A Snake It Would Have Bitten You In The Ass

PageRank for sale. Wednesday TechCrunch posted an article about a new ad product launched by MediaWhiz. The name of the product is InLinks, and it involves people being able to purchase anchor rich text links embedded into content in a way that is supposed to give it a “natural” feel. Michael Arrington called the product “insidious”. His whole take on it was that these new paid links would “be hard for Google to detect”. Quite a bit of discussion followed, sparked in large part by the fact that Matt Cutts chimed in on the matter. What no one seemed to notice, however,

Read moreMatt Cutts, If This Paid Link Were A Snake It Would Have Bitten You In The Ass

Google Fundamentally Changes The Way They Handle 302 Redirects (Welcome Back 302 Hijack!)

Officer not-so-friendly 302 Redirect For years now, on an on-again/off-again basis, Google has had issues with the way that they treat 302 Temporary Redirects. Going back at least as far as 2004, you can find discussions about websites getting hijacked in the serps, all due to problems arising from the way that 302’s were treated. The issue was that if one site redirected to another using a 302 Temporary Redirect (as opposed to a 301 Permanent Redirect, which has come to be known as a “search engine friendly” redirect), often times

Read moreGoogle Fundamentally Changes The Way They Handle 302 Redirects (Welcome Back 302 Hijack!)

If Googleplex Employees Don’t Understand The Webmaster Guidelines, How Can They Expect Webmasters To Adhere To Them?

Nancy Drew, we need you! Last month, in one of my posts, I had decided to include a few images to see how well they might rank for their keyphrases. I had never targeted any of the image searches, and due to one of the topics of the post it seemed like a good opportunity to do so. When I went to check later to see if the images happened to be indexed yet, they weren’t. It had only been a couple of days, and I really didn’t expect them to be there yet, so that was really no surprise. What did surprise me, however,

Read moreIf Googleplex Employees Don’t Understand The Webmaster Guidelines, How Can They Expect Webmasters To Adhere To Them?

Googlebot Creates Pages Instead of Simply Indexing Them: New FORM Crawling Algo Goes Bad

Last month Google revealed a new crawling method that they were testing out, whereby they were filling out forms on sites that they came across, in order to help facilitate the discovery of new pages. Matt Cutts discussed it here last month. I had noticed the phenomena

Read moreGooglebot Creates Pages Instead of Simply Indexing Them: New FORM Crawling Algo Goes Bad