Much is written about how search engines are working tirelessly to improve the results they serve up. You could fill a large library with all the advice that has been written on search engine optimisation. Google publicly talks about penalising or even de-indexing websites that break its rules and try to ‘cheat’ their way to the top of the search results. They are constantly updating the way websites are crawled in an endeavour to ‘weed out’ low quality or ‘spammy’ sites.
All of this creates huge problems for the SEO industry and those who work in it. Why, because the many changes are made with no warning and no details on what they cover or how to comply with them. SEO consultants and companies are working overtime to try to avoid being penalised by past, current and future changes by Google by interpreting the small amount of guidance they issue and ‘comply’ as best as they can.
Then along comes news that maybe all this ‘white hat’ seo compliancy is not all it is made out to be
Study Finds Search Engine Poisoning Persistent, Hard to Solve
Queries for certain subjects, such as pharmaceuticals and online gambling, continue to be dominated by results “poisoned” by fraudulent links, according to a four-year study.
A long-term study of the infrastructure used to poison search engine results has found that fraudsters quickly adapt to countermeasures aimed at preventing the manipulation of search results and that fraudulent links dominate the results for certain search subjects, such as pharmaceuticals.
The four-year academic study, conducted by a team of three researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Southern Methodist University, tracked the top Google results for 218 searches related to pharmaceuticals and another 600 searches related to other fraud-prone subjects, such as antivirus, pirated software and online gambling.
Search-redirection attacks climbed to account for nearly 60 percent of results for such queries in late 2012, the study found. And while the median time to clean the infected systems behind the attacks eventually shortened—to around 15 days—fraudsters compensated by compromising more systems, Nicolas Christin, assistant research professor in electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, told eWEEK.
So it seems if you have the financial muscle to buy some serious black hat link building then you can still game Google to get top rankings. For the majority of us it is still a matter of paddling upstream or in other words ‘business as usual’.