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Search Engine SPAM With Facebook (Round 2)

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In early November Google promoted their ability to execute AJAX/JS to index some dynamic comments.  A few years ago, Jed Singer and I did some digging to see just how well Facebook pages were crawled and indexed.  The answer – not very well, but Facebook still enjoyed decent rankings for profile and brand pages alike, despite spidering issues.  Our review suggested a heavy dose of domain authority and backlinking signals, and not necessarily on-page relevance.  

Then, suddenly, Facebook pages started to show up less and less (somewhere around the time “Google Me” was the rumor) except for specific people and brand searches.  I assumed a manual algorithm tweak to clean up the search engine result pages, and make general Facebook pages less of a player.  The same kind you saw with Digg pages, Amazon subdomains, etc.

But when I read that Google is getting better at interpreting Facebook comments, I assumed they also got better at reading all Facebook’s public tabbed content.  Still, I assumed they wouldn’t change their algorithm suppressing Facebook rankings. 

Wrong…



This is one of several examples I found.  It worried me about my long-tail for my websites, and sure enough, Facebook SERP SPAM there too.  I don’t know if Google took their eye of their algorithm and made some changes without considering their prior intention, or if this is a real decision (can’t imagine why, though).  I expect it won’t last long.

In the meantime, black hats will go at it, and white hats (and shoppers) will need to be annoyed by it. What a thoughtful holiday gift, Google!
 


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    Comments

    The comments are do-follow. However, any comments that use keyword anchor text as the name will be removed.

    1. Well, of course. Social spam has been a huge problem ever since Google started ranking based on it. It’s cheap and easy. The social networks even host your spam for you – no expensive link farm sites to operate. Everybody in SEO has known this for the last year.

      We have a paper on this: “Social is bad for search, and search is bad for social” (http://www.sitetruth.com/doc/socialisbadforsearch09.pdf) showing the whole social spam ecosystem in detail. Social spam is now a big, well-developed industry with several tiers of services used together to spam Google.

      Facebook “Likes” are available at $70 for 1000 “likes”.

      Reply


    2. Well, of course. Social spam has been a huge problem ever since Google started ranking based on it. It’s cheap and easy. The social networks even host your spam for you – no expensive link farm sites to operate. Everybody in SEO has known this for the last year.

      We have a paper on this: “Social is bad for search, and search is bad for social” (http://www.sitetruth.com/doc/socialisbadforsearch09.pdf) showing the whole social spam ecosystem in detail. Social spam is now a big, well-developed industry with several tiers of services used together to spam Google.

      Facebook “Likes” are available at $70 for 1000 “likes”.

      Reply


    3. Daniel ³
      December 19, 2011

      Spam cost all ppl time. It is so uneffective. I dont get it why ppl still do it. “Stop spam, read books”

      Reply


    4. Daniel ³
      December 19, 2011

      Spam cost all ppl time. It is so uneffective. I dont get it why ppl still do it. “Stop spam, read books”

      Reply


    5. Alexander Pokorny
      February 17, 2012

      Bill,
      The comment above mine is spam. Its even a standard Scrapebox format.
      Gotta love that.

      I know that Facebook now allows online stores to become part of pages, creating a free hosted e-store. JC Penny’s page is a great example of it.

      Add that functionality plus the domain value of facebook.com, and you can see how this may be the advent of a new type of affiliate sites.

      Best of luck,
      Alex

      Reply


    6. Alexander Pokorny
      February 17, 2012

      Bill,
      The comment above mine is spam. Its even a standard Scrapebox format.
      Gotta love that.

      I know that Facebook now allows online stores to become part of pages, creating a free hosted e-store. JC Penny’s page is a great example of it.

      Add that functionality plus the domain value of facebook.com, and you can see how this may be the advent of a new type of affiliate sites.

      Best of luck,
      Alex

      Reply


    7. @billsebald
      February 22, 2012

      @Alexander – I appreciate the comment, and the alert about the spam. I took off the URL, but left it there for other people to see.

      Reply


    8. @billsebald
      February 22, 2012

      @Alexander – I appreciate the comment, and the alert about the spam. I took off the URL, but left it there for other people to see.

      Reply