Why Search Algorithms Must Change...

Feb 8th

DougS posted a good post at Threadwatch about why he feels current search algorithms will be forced to change sooner rather than later.

The scalability and quality of search spam, search volume, ad prices, ad targeting, and search length have all increased while some of the top search spammers have amassed vaults of cash.

RCJordan thinks scaled sophisticated automation is comming soon, pointing out Pleo:

We are within 2 years of real, true, authentic, themed, auto-gen'd content using AI bots. (Actually, I think some are on the brink now, but didn't want to scare Matt & Tim.) While that is mind-boggling prospect, imagine what 2k, 4k, or 256k smart, funny, prolific, and auto-propagated blog-bitches could, no, will do to the serps.

KidMercury posted that he believes real content producers will have to start focusing more on relationships than just content:

I suppose those who value manual content production will need to focus on personalization, immediacy, and the creation of an identity -- stuff that is more about relationship-building as opposed to content-building.

With that in mind, being real off the web, telling stories that are easy to spread (see Purple Cow and All Marketers are Liars),and who you know are really going to start mattering much more for SEOs than it once did.

The irony of the automated spam generation situation is that as search becomes more pervasive Google creates more value, and passes more of that value back to those who spam, and Google is paying people more to spam than they are paying people to stop it. That is why Google must put so much effort spinning public relations opportunities like they did when they recently banned BMW's website.

Published: February 8, 2006

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Comments

February 8, 2006 - 5:44pm

Bit of a stretch to take what amounts to a press release for a toy and assume that smart, funny 'blog bitches' are more than an idle thought.

It's even more of a stretch to assume that the majority of scraper sites are successful. And let's stretch the assumption a bit further and imply that if a battle of algorithms occurs the search engine algorithms will consistently be the losers.

The vast majority of all websites fail. Blogs that have smart and funny authors fail. Scraper sites fail.

And since we're making so many assumptions, let's assume that the same AI that can create articulate, compelling content can also detect content created by that artificial intelligence. I mean, if the AI is 'self-aware' then it must be able to determine what it can create...

No one has mentioned competition yet. If all those AI programs work so amazingly well the competition will be fierce leading many to self-destruction. They can't all be #1 and they can't all occupy the first page.

Then there's economics. This fantasy of pushing a button and printing your own money sounds great. Anyone can do it eh? But if anyone can do it, everyone will be doing it and guess what happens then. Value vanishes. Supply and demand eh? Currently the demand for content exceeds supply, reverse that with a push of a button and let me know what happens.

And, the control rests with the search engines. How far will that auto-genned content get if the engines simply stop indexing brand new content except for say, news sites? Or whitelisted sites? How long would it take to create a vetting algo? Or decide that enough is enough and make all indexing pay-to-play?

I agree that algorithms must change. If algorithms remain static (read stagnant), decay begins.

KidMercury nailed it with 'focus on personalization, immediacy, and the creation of an identity -- stuff that is more about relationship-building as opposed to content-building'.

Or you can pin your hopes on some magic button.

February 8, 2006 - 6:12pm

As always, great comment Dean :)

February 11, 2006 - 7:17am

I've seen some trackbacks to my blog that make me scratch my head. The blog entry might say something along the lines of: "Cyclelicious wrote "blah blah blah." But consider also Go Clipless, who wrote "blah blah blah."

A big tip off tends to be very high posting volume -- like 50-100 posts per day. After looking at several entries and seeing a pattern it becomes obvious that the text is machine generated. But you have to bother to actually check to see the pattern.

Has anybody mated Eliza with scraper software yet?

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