Tag Archive: search engine


J.C. Penney

Image by Michael R. Allen via Flickr

JC Penny’s situation is fairly common—black hat techniques are used to exploit a loophole in Google, but Google eventually finds the loophole, patches it, and applies a (search) penalty to the exploiter, usually knocking them well down in search rank so that they don’t get as much traffic.  What was remarkable is how well JC Penny was able to pull of this stunt, and how widespread and effective they were able to make it.
The story of all this, I heard about from a friend, and then was able to find reference to in an online news source… It looks like they had a huge number of incoming links from other sites.  Remember how I mentioned link-building?   But, it wasn’t a genuine natural process…it was something fake/forced, which though not illegal benefits only JC Penny, and not the larger crowd that Google is trying to service (in other words JC Penny wasn’t actually being good high quality contributors to get those results, they were just finding a shortcut)…now they disavowed their involvement in this process…but I’m not so sure.  There was a slightly scandalous viral video that was circulating (and got a lot of exposure) with their name on it, and they disavowed it too.
We don’t know, but it’s possible that this was a carefully orchestrated gambit—knowing how much traffic was out there in the holiday season, and weighing that against how little traffic there is available after the holiday season.  Maybe they just knew that if they could even get a fraction of a percentage increase in traffic during the holidays for their online sales, it would far outweigh any penalty Google could impose in the post-holiday season when there’s so little traffic to be had anyways.  That’s the wager you have to make when doing black-hat stuff—usually short term gains vs. long term stability.

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Google Instant: No Clicking

Google Instant No Click Illustration

Google Instant - No Clicks Required

While I hadn’t thought about this advantage, apparently the new Google Instant platform of promotion has a pillar based on the interface delivers results for you to see while you type (assuming you can “touch type” and don’t have to look at the keyboard).

Here’s a video example using “Bob Dylan.”

In my last post, I challenged users to search for Google on Google, and see what they found.
The answer, the top result (at least when I did it) was actually Google’s official blog. If you want to stay on top of future developments, one might think that you’d start there.

But is that assumption correct?

I just did a search on Google for “Yahoo,” and the requisite reverse search on Yahoo for “Google.” You know what I found? I found that on both search engines, neither one actually gave news about itself, but each one gave news about the other one.

Sounds like the old addage is true—your enemies know more about you than you do…”No news is good news,” must be the rationale.

So if you’re looking for news, search Yahoo or Google (who control most of the search-market share right now)…

except if you’re searching for Yahoo or Google themselves.  (Then use a competitor.)

What do you think about that?  Well, I think it shows how quickly information outdates itself on the internet.  A second search found that Google does have news about itself now—Google does, but Yahoo doesn’t (and now not for Google either.)  It makes me wonder if this has something to do with Google’s slogan: Don’t be evil.  (Did that clue into my post before I wrote it?)

This does beg the question, how much reliable information will you get from someone talking about themself? …or a search engine searching itself?  Would it be better to search for information on one person, from a different point of view?

By the time this goes live (and/or by the time you’re reading this) things may be even more different—even more different than today, or five seconds ago, or whatever—but the basic facts remain the same.  The best source for an unbiased opinion is a disinterested bystander—but where do you find that?

Not to leave us on a solutionless down-note, let’s consider what other possibilities may be out there…maybe a search driven by human agents, but more on that later.  (Or is that what Yahoo and Google really are?)

Image representing Yahoo! as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

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