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Thread: Unethical SEO

  1. #11
    TopDogger's Avatar
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    Don't rely on Wikipedia as being a proof source for anything. Most of the articles are well written, but it is a wiki, which means that there is a lot of opinion mixed with the content. No one proofs it for accuracy.

    From my perspective, ethical SEO practices are more an issue of deceiving customers into thinking they are going to see a particular result, but something very different is delivered, such as guaranteed traffic, guaranteed first page results, submission to 750,000 search engines (yes, there used to be an ad that claimed this), etc.

    I don't think of keyword stuffing as being unethical. It is a form of spamming the search engines and it is foolish.

    Websters: Ethics - the discipline dealing with what is good and bad with moral duty and obligation.
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    Don't rely on Wikipedia as being a proof source for anything. Most of the articles are well written, but it is a wiki, which means that there is a lot of opinion mixed with the content. No one proofs it for accuracy.
    That's funny.

    An early study conducted by IBM researchers conducted in 2003—two years following Wikipedia's establishment—found that "vandalism is usually repaired extremely quickly—so quickly that most users will never see its effects" and concluded that Wikipedia had "surprisingly effective self-healing capabilities".

    An investigation reported in the journal Nature in 2005 suggested that for scientific articles Wikipedia came close to the level of accuracy in Encyclopædia Britannica and had a similar rate of "serious errors".

    On October 24, 2005, The Guardian published a story titled "Can you trust Wikipedia?" where a panel of experts were asked to review seven entries related to their fields, giving each article reviewed a number designation out of ten points. Scores ranged from 0 to 8, but most received marks between 5 to 8. The most common criticisms were:

    1. Poor prose, or ease-of-reading issues (3 mentions)
    2. Omissions or inaccuracies, often small but including key omissions in some articles (3 mentions)
    3. Poor balance, with less important areas being given more attention and vice versa (1 mention)

    The most common praises were:

    1. Factually sound and correct, no glaring inaccuracies (4 mentions)
    2. Much useful information, including well selected links, making it possible to "access much information quickly" (3 mentions)

    PC Pro magazine (August 2007) asked experts to compare 4 articles (a small sample) in their scientific fields between Wikipedia, Britannica and Encarta. In each case Wikipedia was described as "largely sound", "well handled", "performs well", "good for the bare facts" and "broadly accurate." One article had "a marked deterioration towards the end" while another had "clearer and more elegant" writing, a third was assessed as less well written but better detailed than its competitors, and a fourth was "of more benefit to the serious student than its Encarta or Britannica equivalents." No serious errors were noted in Wikipedia articles, whereas serious errors were noted in one Encarta and one Britannica article.

    In October 2007, Australian magazine PC Authority published a feature article on the accuracy of Wikipedia. The article compared Wikipedia's content to other popular online encyclopedias, namely Britannica and Encarta. The magazine asked experts to evaluate articles pertaining to their field. Wikipedia was comparable to the other encyclopedias, topping the chemistry category.

    In December 2007, German magazine Stern published the results of a comparison between the German Wikipedia and the online version of the 15-volume edition of Brockhaus Enzyklopädie. The test was commissioned to a research institute (Cologne-based WIND GmbH), whose analysts assessed 50 articles from each encyclopedia (covering politics, business, sports, science, culture, entertainment, geography, medicine, history and religion) on four criteria (accuracy, completeness, timeliness and clarity), and judged Wikipedia articles to be more accurate on the average (1.6 on a scale from 1 to 6, versus 2.3 for Brockhaus with lower = better). Wikipedia's coverage was also found to be more complete and up to date, however Brockhaus was judged to be more clearly written, while several Wikipedia articles were criticized as being too complicated for non-experts, and many as too lengthy.

    List goes on.

    ethical SEO practices are more an issue of deceiving customers into thinking they are going to see a particular result
    No, what you're talking about is unethical marketing - not SEO.

    I don't think of keyword stuffing as being unethical. It is a form of spamming the search engines and it is foolish.
    Well, that's your opinion - but irrelevant to this thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kovich View Post
    Yes, this is true bogart.

    Wikipedia says: "Keyword stuffing is considered to be an unethical search engine optimization (SEO) technique. Keyword stuffing occurs when a web page is loaded with keywords in the meta tags or in content. The repetition of words in meta tags may explain why many search engines no longer use these tags."
    Adsense still uses the meta tags for ad targeting. So in that respect, Google would take action against a website.

    Overall Google prefers to apply penalities programmicaly. That's way in most cases Google doesn't take any action on the spam reports.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bogart View Post
    Adsense still uses the meta tags for ad targeting. So in that respect, Google would take action against a website.

    Overall Google prefers to apply penalities programmicaly. That's way in most cases Google doesn't take any action on the spam reports.
    Really? I wasn't aware that AdSense used meta tags for anything - I guess you learn something every day.

    When I had initially filed the spam report, I figured Google probably wouldn't read it. They're notorious for poor customer outreach and support unless it's on their own terms, when they feel like doing it. But hey - I figured it was worth a try. Never hurts to give them a heads up when a site is doing a lot of unethical SEO.

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    So - have you ever filed a spam report with Google?
    Yes, when some unethical webmasters use my work, and spam my business.

    Do you monitor your competition?
    Yes, it helps understand why some are ranking higher then me or help me to do things they don't so I rank higher.

    Do you engage in unethical SEO?
    No
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kovich View Post
    An early study conducted by IBM researchers conducted in 2003—two years following Wikipedia's establishment—found that "vandalism is usually repaired extremely quickly—so quickly that most users will never see its effects" and concluded that Wikipedia had "surprisingly effective self-healing capabilities".
    True. Wikipedia does tend to be self-healing and self-correcting, but they have also had a history of infiltration of politically-motivated articles (yes, they do flag them as such) and writers with fraudulent credentials. Like I said, the articles are well-written, but I have found numerous technical errors in their articles and they have to be taken with a grain of salt, just like anything else that is published on the web. The articles are not all written by professionals. SEO in particular is a field that frequently works more with opinions than facts.

    "Facts are meaningless. They can be used to prove anything." -- Homer Simpson

    Quote Originally Posted by Kovich View Post
    No, what you're talking about is unethical marketing - not SEO.
    OK. I 'll agree with you . That is more of a marketing issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kovich View Post
    Well, that's your opinion - but irrelevant to this thread.
    Not so irrelevant, because that was the first example of unethical SEO that you used. Yes, it is my opinion. BTW, I've been doing SEO since 1997 and have been doing it professionally since 2003. As an SEO. I've never engaged in the cheesy tactics or so called "unethical SEO", so I am not defending the methods. It is only really unethical from a search engine's perspective, and they each have their own problems with ethics.

    Quote Originally Posted by bogart View Post
    Adsense still uses the meta tags for ad targeting. So in that respect, Google would take action against a website.

    Overall Google prefers to apply penalities programmicaly. That's way in most cases Google doesn't take any action on the spam reports.
    This is true. If you set up AdSense on a new, unidexed site and each page site has unique and descriptive meta tags, you are much less likely to see public service ads. I typically do not see them at all on my new sites.

    I believe bogart is also correct about dealing with penalties programatically. Keyword stuffing and most other poor SEO techniques are fairly easy for the spiders to detect. With Google, everything has a randomness factor, so your competitor may eventually get nailed.

    The spam reporting feature appears to to be more of a "feel good" feature. Like I said, I have never seen a single case where Google took action because of a spam report. I suspect they are overwhelmed with perhaps tens of thousands of these reports filed every day. It is possible that they will take action if hundreds of people file a complaint about the same web site, but I would not hold your breath waiting for action against your competitor.
    Last edited by TopDogger; 8 March, 2010 at 17:01 PM.
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  9. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kovich View Post
    Recently I've been keeping tabs on my competitors and have noticed strange, unethical activity from one in particular. The first thing that caught my eye was clear, blatant keyword stuffing. I checked out the site to get a better idea, and then reported it to Google immediately.

    The keyword was repeated in this site's description more than four times in a matter of two sentences. This trend continued throughout the site.

    Look at that! Now, I won't go into page-by-page analysis of the website, but I will say that it's unethical SEO efforts are quite disturbing, and this is just one such example. I can only hope that Google will review my report and take the appropriate action. It hurts to know that I am doing everything by the book, and people engaging in these sorts of tactics are ranking highly.

    For other keywords and niches I have seen a lot of blackhat SEO going on as well. I'm just hoping that by doing everything right, and by reporting these attempts at ranking manipulation, my sites can climb the ladder.

    So - have you ever filed a spam report with Google?
    Do you monitor your competition?
    Do you engage in unethical SEO?

    I have never reported anybody, even though it crossed my mind a time or two. what exactly is unethical though and where do you draw the line? You may also be interested in knowing that many of the very reputable websites out there use blackhat methods, but authority over rides the spam filter.

    I do monitor my competition, but mainly to see what they do that works which I have not yet done.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopDogger View Post
    True. Wikipedia does tend to be self-healing and self-correcting, but they have also had a history of infiltration of politically-motivated articles (yes, they do flag them as such) and writers with fraudulent credentials. Like I said, the articles are well-written, but I have found numerous technical errors in their articles and they have to be taken with a grain of salt, just like anything else that is published on the web. The articles are not all written by professionals. SEO in particular is a field that frequently works more with opinions than facts.
    Wikipedia is full of errors. According to Wikipedia, 200,000 people were killed in Honduras by gangs in 2008. The population is around 7 million. There's now way that this is factual.

    Honduras

    There has been a lot of violence in Honduras especially in 2008 where 200,000 people died mostly because of gangs.
    Crime and violence in Latin America - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Quote Originally Posted by TopDogger View Post
    've never engaged in the cheesy tactics or so called "unethical SEO", so I am not defending the methods. It is only really unethical from a search engine's perspective, and they each have their own problems with ethics.
    In terms of a webmaster "spamming" the meta tags: cheesy tactics is the the best description. In my opinion it isn't unethical.

    I guess you could say "unethical SEO" when a company is charging for SEO services and providing the SEO using cheesy tactics.

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    Kovich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bogart View Post
    Wikipedia is full of errors. According to Wikipedia, 200,000 people were killed in Honduras by gangs in 2008. The population is around 7 million. There's now way that this is factual.
    Have you ever been to Honduras? Go there, and I bet you'll change your view.

    Terrible instability there.

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    That Wikipedia article about crime and violence in Latin America is good example of questionable facts that have been flagged as such by Wikipedia.

    Note the message at the top of the page:
    This article needs additional citations for verification.
    Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2009)
    Wikipedia articles are not necessarily written by professional researchers or experts in a field. They are mostly written by volunteer writers.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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