Right, there has been a lot of moaning around the web about the state of the SERPs, in fact, I have done a fair bit myself, mostly about the crappy results being returned for pretty commercial terms. Then Rand at SEOmoz brought up the issue and literally just today there was another post on the SEOmoz blog highlighting some crazy results Google returning a. As far as I am concerned the moaning is over, there needs to be a solution and I don’t think killing links is the way forward.
The Link Graph
Many have suggested that the problem is the link graph, the fact it is too easily manipulated and until Google drop their current model they’re always going to struggle with Spam, this has an element of truth in it but there is a fundamental problem. Without the link graph, Google has no business model they need a way of ranking sites and any other method just isn’t going to cut it. Google commands a massive amount of targeted traffic, no matter what method or data is used to rank sites there is always going to be manipulation out there, where money can be made the scammers will always be around.
The Social Graph
Google has admitted to using social signals to rank sites and even though I have seen multiple examples of this working I still think it’s a minor rather than a major factor. You can guarantee that if it became a ‘major’ factor paid tweets would be rife, spammed and hacked Facebook profiles would become the ‘norm’ & paid stumblers, Diggs, Reddit, etc would become even more popular than they already are.
It has been mentioned on SEO moz multiple times that anchor text is the issue and that Google should seriously devalue the impact it has on rankings but where do they add that value? I think the fact is no matter where Google tweaks there algorithm it is always going to manipulate. As far as I can see the only real way to sort this issue is to make more webmasters/business owners and bloggers aware of SEO how it works and why you should be investing in it. Well, yes I would, however, I honestly believe it’s the only way to clean up the SERPs. Think of it this way you’re a business owner, you’re hot on SEO, you have a fantastic site and a top product, and you see a fake spam site pop above you for your main keyword, obviously spam and not likely to be legitimate.
So what do you do
Now I know I am going to have those that passionately disagree with me and think this is an encouraging site outing and it is but let me be clear. If you have a genuine competitor that has bought a link on a dodgy site, that’s not spam, your Job or whoever is in charge of SEO is to beat them. A spam site is one that offers no value to a user whatsoever, a genuine website is not spam regardless of how many anchor text links they have.
So the more people understand SEO, the more will understand spam, the more spam reports are complete, and the less spam there is in the index. There will be many big brand websites out there that think they should rank regardless because of their trust, brand presence, or some other invisible factor, the truth is if you want a piece of the Google pie you have to invest, let’s all stop the moaning and get on with what we know works.