Is Google Referrer Spamming Too Now?

Yesterday a friend of mine sent me a section of her traffic logs that were showing some odd information. According to what was recorded there her brand new, as of yet unlinked-to website was ranking on the first page of Google for the single keyword, [free]. If she actually had managed to rank for that phrase it would be an amazing feat to say the least. The competition for that single word is enormous. Unsurprisingly, when performing that actual search her site is nowhere to be found. The site in question is barely one week old, and hasn’t even been launched yet.

What is surprising, to me anyways, is that it appears that the traffic is actually coming from a bot at Google… a bot that is cloaked, sending fake

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Google Fails 5th Grade Math Test

Calculator says... idk, 7? So, I think I finally discovered the cause of global warming. No, for reals. From what I can tell, miss Mother Nature started using Google Calculator in helping her figure out what kind of weather she should serve up to us. Now, if she were trying to bake a cake, or perhaps get driving directions, I am sure Google would have worked just fine. But for doing math involving temperatures…? Not so much.

I was playing around with the functions on Google Calculator last week, when I noticed some of the calculations weren’t quite right. Maybe Michael Bolton from Office Space was involved

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Dear Google, Both Yahoo and Bing Crushed You Today

Dear Google,

I ran a search today. It was a real search. In other words, this search wasn’t something I was researching as a search professional. This wasn’t a search for one of the high keyword value phrases. This was just me … being an ordinary user … wanting to find some information. And what I discovered was that Google failed me, big time, with absolutely nothing in the first ten results that was of any relevance to my query.

Now at first, I assumed *I* was the problem. After all, we’ve been conditioned to believe that if you don’t give us the answers we are looking for, then we must have asked the wrong question. And just as I was about to figure out how to rephrase my query, I decided to do something else first.

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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

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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

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What Will *Really* Break If Google Switches To AJAX…?

On Friday I wrote a piece on how it looked like Google was testing AJAX results in the main serps. Some discussion followed as to whether, if this change were to become a widespread permanent one, this would affect Firefox plugins that existed (definitely some existing ones would stop working), break some of the rank checking tools out there (they would have to be re-written I’m sure), and even some people asking if it would thwart serps scrapers from using serps for auto page generation (not for long, no).

While those things would definitely be affected in at least the short term, there is a much greater impact from Google switching to AJAX. All of the issues mentioned involve a very small subset of the webmastering community. What actually breaks if Google makes this switchover, and is in fact broken during any testing they are doing, is much more widespread. Every single

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Google Web Search Goes Completely AJAX

Yes, I know… Google has been offering AJAX driven results through the API and other services for ages, but now they have rolled that out to the main Google Search. It appears to be only on Google US (I tried manually switching to Google UK, and it redirected me from the AjAX version to a static HTML page), but that of course could change in the future.

I noticed this as soon as I started searching for stuff today, from almost the first query I typed in. When I looked at the url, instead of seeing the normal /search?= at the beginning:

Normal Google search url

I found myself looking at this:

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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

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How To Find The Best Free Image/Photo/Graphics Downloads For Your Blog Posts

Smile! Adding images to your blog posts can make them much more visually appealing to your readers. This in turn can increase the likelihood that someone will link to that post or subscribe to your feed, which will of course in the long run help to improve your rankings and traffic. The internet is chock full of images, many of which will fit perfectly with that blog post or article that you are writing. The problem is, however, finding images that are both high quality and that you are actually allowed to use.

The Problems

Two internet no-no’s that beginner web publishers often perform, many times without even realizing that they are doing anything wrong,

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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,

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