Do you ever wonder why search engines sometimes turn up utterly useless results?
It's a trick question. The answer is that it's worth so much to a company to appear high on your search results page, that unscrupulous individuals will do anything to get there.
Years back (1998?), when AltaVista was the net's favourite search engine, a member of their team told of the moment they realised how valuable the search business was. "It was when the first six-figure under-the-table offer came in," he said.
Search engine firms tend not to participate in such shady dealings, so if you want to artificially boost your ranking you have to look elsewhere.
Typically pages are listed in order of popularity - the more people that link to your site, the higher your rating. If you want to appear first in the list, get lots of people to link to you. This is where blogs and comments come in. You can use the comments on this (and other blogs) to publish any text you want on my site, including links to your site.
The fear of this was one reason I held off from adding comments to my site.
Over the past two months, I've not had a single comment spam appear on my blog. I'd begun to think I'd been worried about nothing. Then I noticed an entry (now removed) on a friend's blog.
Here's just one small portion:
I agree with this Art Trading Cards 046 As Make Lennox Financial Are 583 Wyndham Hotels The Use Enjoy Valdecoxib Very In Stock Market Information On 679 94 Xenical Side Effects Enjoy 10 Becoming A Mortgage Broker Are 3576 Wyndham Hotel Now Make Skelaxin And Fast Online Fleet Credit Card Order This Honolulu Hotels Where About USA U.s. Money 18 49 Hyatt Hotel 18 Mexico Viagra Prices Next Now 882 Credit Check Ok
Everything I put in bold type there was a link to the same site. This is why your search results are polluted. Because people are so keen to get your clicks that they'll plaster their rubbish anywhere and everywhere they can.
As Spam is driven away from our email systems, a new front will open up; this may be it.
What can you do about this? Not much, but since I suspect things will get worse you might do what you can.
Don't rely on search engines to find things for you - learn to navigate round the 'net other ways. (At the very least, know how to use two or three different search engines or directories.) And if you have a blog, scan your comments for spam and remove it where possible.
All contents copyright © 1999-2010 Paul and Emma Bennett