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Old 09-05-2004   #1
Anthony Parsons
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Do Marketeers Control The Rankings?

This post on guarantee's had a mention of controlling the rankings, thus you cannot provide a guarantee. Ok, lets leave that for that thread, but do we control the rankings then? We manipulate website after website to rank as close as possibly too the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP's), so what's the difference.

The search engines make the algorithm that assesses particular criteria to determine what page ranks highly for the term searched, and we marketeers manipulate those rankings by assessing what works and what does not to conform as close as possible to what that algorithm is looking for.

????
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Old 09-06-2004   #2
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What do you mean "we"? I for one do nothing of the sort.

Also, is marketeer a commonly accepted term for "us"? How about marketer? Marketeer sounds to me like privateer or profiteer... i.e. it has a negative connotation. Or perhaps this is a regional usage I'm not aware of?
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Old 09-06-2004   #3
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I own a directory and as such can control exactly where any listing appears. I do not own any of the top search engines so although I do things to help companies gain better visibility, I in no way consider that "controlling" their results.
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Old 09-06-2004   #4
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I am certainly going to agree that the presence of not only spammers but also optimizers has influenced the way that the major SE companies rank results.

It would be far easier to produce indexing and ranking technology for an environment where there were no particular incentive to rank high, or "non-accredited" pages simply could never be submitted. (A library catalog is finite, for example. Or at least they used to be in the old days!)

Once that incentive exists it can really swamp the engines. They continue to struggle with it. It is precisely their attempt to see to it that optimizers cannot make claim to controlling the results that has led to developments such as "Florida."

I agree with what is implied in your post, Anthony Parsons, drawing a line between spam and simply "good optimization" is an artificial distinction as far as SE's are concerned. Insofar as they are concerned about the impact of any outside influence on search quality, they'll need to take steps to combat it.

It's probably worth speculating on whether than means engines will need to develop ever more sophisticated technologies so that optimizers do not have undue influence on results, be they paid inclusion, personalization, more sophisticated reputation scoring, semantic analysis, better metadata, human-edited directories, P2P search, more local search, or what have you.

I love speculation on those trends although it would probably be a different thread for some of them...
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Old 09-06-2004   #5
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Hi Andrew. Yes, it is a regional thing I think. A mere spelling indifference from Australia to others. The "we" refers to anyone who changes a website and conducts activities to increase rankings for known instances, or well estimated one's at that, being what we know can improve rankings.

I see "manipulation" like this! If you build a website and its just so good right from start that people love it, link to it and so on, the site just obtains naturally high rankings from word of mouth and the original design. Now, if that website begins to lose interest from the public, thus lose rankings, if the site is then adjusted on page or off to counter act that drop, that would be a form of manipulating the site for the sole purpose to maintain those rankings. Whether it be adjust text, structure, coding, inbound links, etc, it is for the sole purpose to reobtain those rankings. Thus what I deem as manipulation.

Paying for links for marketing purposes is one thing, and hey, if they benefit ranking stability at the same time, then great, but when we intentionally alter to raise rankings, I see it as manipulating those rankings. Nothing wrong with it, as long as we are not spamming them. Manipulation of a website in to be shown for its relevant terms, is nothing more than ensuring the right content is shown for the right queries.

It would be very interesting to see just where someone like Google ends up with this. Seen as though they strive to only concentrate on a search platform as such, and that they want to continue selling that platform to other providers and new providers, such as AOL, then it may just happen one day where Google get their wish to update completely on a daily basis and randomize their criteria; ie. A different page of results is shown daily based on a random algorithm. Now that has some steam too it, providing it still shows the correct information, just not necessarily the one that has optimized for it???
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Old 09-06-2004   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Parsons
Nothing wrong with it, as long as we are not spamming them. Manipulation of a website in to be shown for its relevant terms, is nothing more than ensuring the right content is shown for the right queries.
people using broken algorithms to help market their sites are trying to be rather relevant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Glick (of Y! Search
Well let me just say first that, in that sense Spam has gotten a lot better over the years. You don't really much have people trying to appear for off topic terms as they tended to. You now have people who are trying to be very relevant.
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Old 09-07-2004   #7
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Insofar as people start slipping cash under the table for links (a market for reputation develops), PageRank no longer acts as an arbiter for truly-felt "reputation." It also measures "strength of optimizing," which has always affected SE rankings but against which PageRank was supposed to be relatively immune.

(Forget about link "farms" and other manipulation -- even "normal" links are informally traded as currency.)

When that started to happen I caught onto the trend quite early, and began wondering, if links are sometimes more like paid ads (Google just doesn't know it), then wouldn't a banner also be a link? What's the difference? Of course Google could look for tracking code and so forth...

Anyway, of course there really *is* no "ultimate" authority conveyed by a link on the web today. PageRank authority measurement was a "neat little idea" and like all neat ranking ideas it is susceptible to manipulation.

When I raised this point (not too clearly I guess) at SES a couple of years ago -- asked a Google engineer what the FUNDAMENTAL distinction really might be between an unadmitted/stealth sponsor text link and a graphic which also links to another site (let's say a cartoon with alt text) -- he misinterpreted me as someone who was trying to spam the engine, so he said "what you need to do is make sure your site has good content and not worry about how PageRank works," or something to that effect. So much for probing analysis.

IMHO, your idea of randomizing ranking criteria is not all that far-fetched. An unstable set of criteria for the algo each time a reindexing occurs is probably a way of shaking the tree and getting some of the spam out, or at least confounding optimizers. There is a certain proud tradition in the "random" thing. In ancient Greece, rotation of office, for example. Every dog has his day, etc.

Last edited by andrewgoodman : 09-07-2004 at 09:22 AM. Reason: added last paragraph
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Old 09-10-2004   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewgoodman
What do you mean "we"? I for one do nothing of the sort.

Also, is marketeer a commonly accepted term for "us"? How about marketer? Marketeer sounds to me like privateer or profiteer... i.e. it has a negative connotation. Or perhaps this is a regional usage I'm not aware of?
Marketeer is a less commonly used term. Dr. Ed Rigdon , a Marketing professor at Georgia State University, uses it to describe himself , and it is on his URL as well.

Dr. Rigdon is one of the nation's most respected authorities in Electronic Marketing. I have learned a LOT from him and he is an ethical, principled and respected "marketeer".

Last edited by andrewgoodman : 09-13-2004 at 08:23 PM. Reason: edited out sig w/ link
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