NY Times Hates Google Or Just Simple Reporting?

May 9, 2011 • 9:09 am | comments (13) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

NY Times & GoogleOver the weekend, Mother's Day weekend, the New York Times released a story named Trying to Game Google on 'Mother's Day Flowers'.

This article pretty much called out a few popular flower selling sites for manipulating Google's search results with the use of buying links.

Unlike J.C. Penney, Overstock.com and Forbes - no action was actually taken by Google.

Normally when a major publication writes about Google link spam issues, Google will react and take action. Not this time.

Google told the NY Times:

None of the links shared by The New York Times had a significant impact on our rankings, due to automated systems we have in place to assess the relevance of links.

You and I know that Google does have ways to handle and discount a lot of unnatural links without actually penalizing the sites with those links. But for Google to say this, maybe it is Google telling the major publications - enough! Google has ways to report spam outside of making Google look bad. Here maybe Google is saying, we aren't dumb, we know sites use link buying to try to artificially inflate their rankings and we take care of it already - so stop trying to make us look bad?

What do you think?

Forum discussion at Sphinn & WebmasterWorld.

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John Nagle

05/09/2011 03:47 pm

Welcome to the real world, Google. Google has had search quality problems for years. Until October 2010, though, the subject was seldom discussed outside the SEO and anti-spam communities. It blew up into a public issue due to the easy-to-spam Google Places debacle, the rise of the billion-dollar content farms Demand Media and Aol, the growth of Blekko, with their hard-line anti-spam stance, and the European antitrust investigations into Google's policies. Now the mainstream media understands the issues and knows what to look for. This isn't going to go away.

Simon Serrano

05/09/2011 04:39 pm

i thought SEOmoz was the SEO police ... no?


05/09/2011 06:20 pm

One thing I find interesting in that article, is that out of all the flower websites mentioned, only 1800flowers.com is linked to. why would they be singling out just that site to link to. better question, why are they linked to *any* site in that part of the article? Then they go on to link to some questionable sites, with categories listed like Payday Loans, Retirement Plan, Social Security, DUI lawyers, and more. Obvious keyword spam and article syndication.

Clayburn Griffin

05/09/2011 08:03 pm

I don't think the links to 1800flowers and the other crap sites were intentional. Most likely the CMS automatically made them links because a TLD was used. Just like what happened in your comment!

Barry Schwartz

05/09/2011 08:03 pm

Kinda, although the links in the comments aren't links in Google's view.

Clayburn Griffin

05/09/2011 08:13 pm

Yeah, but the same auto-linking was at play there. I don't think David was endorsing any particular site.

Michael Martinez

05/09/2011 11:52 pm

The New York Times has a reputation for manufacturing facts and news. Maybe they should try following true journalistic principles for a change.

New Jersey Camps

05/10/2011 06:46 am

I think New York Times is going to make some changes. As no one like to break the reputation of his or her company.


05/10/2011 10:16 am

I think it's embarrassing for a news outlet the size of NYT to have nothing better to report on than sites buying links. You can literally pick any niche out there and find sites buying links in just a few minutes... So what!? Do they really think Google can't spot the footprints too? The problem is that often those links are purchased by the sites which users expect and want to be ranking for the terms so penalizing actually presents a poorer user experience for the searcher. Try doing some real journalism New York Times and quit outing sites. It's not big, it's not clever and really isn't interesting. Honestly, anybody with a mouse and Yahoo site explorer can do it!


05/10/2011 12:36 pm

while I've little experience with the NYT, it would appear to me at least, that Google is trying to 'gently' move media away from this kind of reporting....and yes, I'd agree Barry, it's to keep their skirts looking clean, eh! ;-) Jim


05/12/2011 01:10 am

The NYT is good at following up on stories, something the media is often criticized for not doing. The quality of Google's SERPs is now a mainstream news story, like it or not. I would expect more on this topic, that's how they win the Pulitzers (see distracted driving).

John Lewis Stores

05/23/2011 07:57 am

..ok this was a lame statement to give..NY could have found something better..


07/21/2011 08:45 am

To beat google is never an easy task .googles guidelines are very vast and also has a very good string matching algorithm.

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