Manipulated Search Terms
Huge amounts of money is being spent to manipulate highly competitive search terms in Google. I’m not talking about the normal link-building or link-buying and other normal efforts. The trend is related to criminal organizations trying to sell counterfeit goods through the US search results, and to a lesser degree, the results for UK, France and Germany.
The spammers do this through keyworded anchor-text heavy links provided by automated forum and blog spam along with hacked websites. These gangs create such large numbers of these sites and links that Google is having quite a hard time catching up with the spam. The Caffeine update that ranks sites faster may be degrading overall search quality as this trend seems to go back only 7 months or so.
- Don’t trust what you read on the Internet; it may be planted data
- If you don’t find anything interesting on the first few pages of Google, then you’re doing it wrong! Set-up the search preferences properly and make them persistent.
- Press releases and promotional websites are not a source of reliable data
- The Internet is not a “neutral” source. Fact-check and evaluate everything you find.
- The Internet is only one research venue
DIY Research is Not Practical
Over the last two years we have seen a DIY trend really take hold due to shrinking budgets. This has appeared in the areas of Due Diligence and Background Investigations particularly. This is false economy because the DIY Researcher doesn’t recognise changes like those described above, let alone what to do about such a distortion of the results.
The solution may be as simple as using OptimizeGoogle directed at a version of the search engine that does not implement Google Instant or it may mean conducting the search using a proxy in another country. If you don’t understand how to do this and why you should do this, then don’t give money to somebody based upon your research.