Thursday, December 22, 2005


Not as easy as it seems

The Guardian has an article on how unscruplous companies are manipulating rankings on Google. The newspaper created a spoof site for a company that sells eco-friendly flip-flops and managed to secure top billing within a couple of days. The trouble with the article is that it uses a particularly bad example to prove its point.

It is common sense that your ranking on Google will be determined by the number of pages that are competing for that particular key word or phrase. One of the most important factors Google considers while ranking a page is the text in the title (the words that appear on the blue bar on the top of a browser).

Any company serious about selling eco-friendly flip-flops will have the phrase in its title. An easy way to check the competition is by using the Google syntax allintitle:eco-friendly flip-flops. Till yesterday, there were only two results, one of which was the spoof site.

So if only one other site is seriously competing for eco-friendly flip-flops for top ranking on Google, what are the chances that the spoof site would rank number 1?

Even otherwise, the article on the whole takes a rather simplistic view of how people manipulate Google's rankings.

Update: The competing site is the blog of the article's author :) So essentially eco-friendly flip-flops has no competition.

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