Patent: Google Faking Search Results To Trick SEOs?

Aug 20, 2012 • 8:13 am | comments (13) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

shell gameA recently granted patent named ranking documents can be looked at as if it was a Penguin patent or maybe a patent on how to trick SEOs into thinking their pages are ranking or maybe both.

Bill Slawski, the SEO patent guru, wrote about it at his blog titled The Google Rank-Modifying Spammers Patent. Tedster also has a good summary of Bill's summary at WebmasterWorld.

In short, the patent discusses finding spam such as keyword stuffing, invisible text, tiny text, page redirects, meta tags stuffing, and link-based manipulation.

It also discusses how to fake the search rankings without changing the search rankings. Tedster explained:

Rather than allow the rankings to respond immediately and directly to those changes, the patent explains a system that would change rankings in unexpected, counter-intuitive ways - while the rankings change from a first position through transition positions and to the final "target rank" position. In other words, significant changes in position continue to happen even though there is no change in page's ranking factors!

How does Google do this? Bill says a time-based delay response, a negative response, a random response, and/or an unexpected response.

There have been a lot ranking changes that are unexpected and hard to explain, maybe this is related?

Pretty interesting stuff!

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to ShutterStock

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Comments:

Andrew Girdwood

08/20/2012 12:18 pm

It's just speculation - by why would Google restrict this to just anti-spam updates if they used this technique at all? For example, after a general update I would imagine it would be possible to take popular/competitive keyword listings through a transitional rank before coming to rest on the actual new position.

Alan

08/20/2012 12:45 pm

Makes sense to me it is a win win for Google. They suspect someone is a spammer so they adjust his serps. He flinches and tries to rectify then they feel justified that the person is spammer. If he wasn't a spammer he starts using adwords! Win WIn! This is like the Salem witch trials. They dunk the woman into a river if she drowns she wasn't a witch, if she survives they burn her at the stake! I am betting that all those stupid webmaster tools warning s are all part of this. Send them warnings and see if they start taking steps. If they do and start notifying us of badlinks then bam they are spammers!

Anti-SEO

08/20/2012 02:30 pm

It's an obvious tactic. No doubt Google uses it. Anyone, who works with algorithms can confirm, that sometimes it's very helpful to return random, unexpected results to those, who want to abuse your algo. Personally I'm using this tactic. Works perfect. Just one problem. Cheaters can't manipulate your algo (or at least not so easy) and they start to blame you for being non transparent enough. They simply can't understand what's going on, why methods they used for years are not working anymore and sure they are not searching problem in themselves, but in you. So, the opposite side of this process is huge black PR from cheaters.Well, you can see it in neighbor threads by yourself )

Webstats Art

08/20/2012 05:01 pm

Play a jackpot machine and you will see the same thing. You have to keep the player interested for a reasonable period of time i.e give him a few mini jackpots.

Robin331

08/20/2012 05:22 pm

sorry to say, but it totally google madness. As I said - it not a search engine anymore, it some webmaster cheating tool. And it will broke any understanding how to rank your own website. So why we need to create content for google if it cheating us everywhere (as mr. matt cutts)

OnlineSocialMediaBlog.com

08/20/2012 05:23 pm

Will this actually help to "STOP SPAM" ?? Or just increase the chances of being SPAMMED ?? :D I think in the process of helping "us" Google has actually over-tweaked their own databases!

Michael Martinez

08/21/2012 01:18 am

How can a search engine fake its own results? I think the headline is a bit over the top.

Barry Schwartz

08/21/2012 01:20 am

Yea, I feel like I am going over the top too often on my headlines recently. I need to calm them a bit.

Website Developers

08/21/2012 10:05 am

Headline is perfect. Google is really faking its search results since penguin update

SLight

08/21/2012 10:21 am

Honestly, I'm glad I don't work for an agency any more. Trying to explain this to already confused clients could be a bit of an uphill struggle. I'm not surprised Google are going to have this in their back pocket. There are some serps which are more spammy than others though and I would imagine that they would be deploying this in the world of "car insurance" and "play blackjack online" more than the regular serps.

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08/21/2012 12:01 pm

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Eric Ward

08/21/2012 02:13 pm

What if it's not about showing fake results to trick SEOs? What if they wanted to see if lower ranking sites were better for the searcher by studying bounce rates? There are plenty of reasons google might want to override the algo. If the site at position 2 had a 80% bouncerate back to the search results, but the site at position 7 only has a bouncerate of 20%, then even though the ranking signals favor the site that ranks 2nd, the site at position 7 is showing itself to be a better result for the searcher. What better way to validate signal accuuracy than to give lower ranking pages a chance to prove themselves?

Lord of SEO

01/23/2013 05:11 pm

Yeah that's pretty ridiculous.

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