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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Two Alleged SEO Spam Tricks

Recently at the Barcamp Stuttgart, Stephan Siegloch told of an alleged way to optimize business listings in Google Maps: get a post box (i.e. a business home address, though perhaps not your real one) close to the city center or main station. Then submit that address to Google Maps. This way, your listings would appear closer to the top in local results with Google. Does anyone else have experiences with this?

Another tactic reached me via email a while ago, but I was not able to find other sources or identifiable information on this, so I’ll pass it on as a rumor. To quote from the source, who wants to stay anonymous (line breaks adjusted):

I know of a company who figured out how to use cheap chinese workers to reach #1 on google for a [particular] search (...)

I don’t know the details but they pay couriers on bikes to
a) bike to various internet cafes
b) search for their terms (ie nigritude ultarmarine)
c) click on the desired listing

Over time the listing will go up. In some cases google actually wraps each result to monitor where the user is going. And it’s working, shockingly some of the pages are now number one with absolutely no backlinks. (...)

Previously they were selling their items through ads, now they have reached #1 and have moved their money to the chinese labour.

Admittedly, even if this report is true, it’s hard to tell exactly what made the company’s listing go up in Google. Also, the company did other things to try improve their Google rankings: they bought backlinks, so that might well skew things too. But I did once hear a Google employee after a Hamburg conference tell a group of us that Google was indeed looking at result click-throughs to adjust listings (and we do know they implemented a click tracker in results). As usual, it’s hard to tell what really happens with Google’s rankings, so again, I’ll put the “rumor” stamp on all of this.


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