The end is nigh – stupid search engines trying to be clever

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Posted by - ® Mark (admin) on October 12, 2006 at 3:49 pm:

Unfortunately I need to change to a different forum software package soon. I would therefore like you all to take another look at the Travlurs forum (link below) I set up a while ago and see if you think you can be happy using that style (I like it because it also offers blogs, picture galleries and calendars).

Reason / explanation;

I thought I would let all users of these forums know that I will soon be forced to change the forum software used because of search engines! Not so long again I set up Travlurs which offers a much more modern style / functionality of forum software and asked people which they preferred; the response was overwhelmingly the style used here right now. So I decided the users are always right, but Google does not agree.

Unfortunately Google in an attempt to stem the amount of web page spam out there have introduced / tightened what are called “filters” which now directly affect this forum. The “problems” with this forum’s software / style is that it is the one most targeted by spammers to put messages with links to their own web site on in order to make Google and Yahoo think they are important (by token of the number of other web sites which link to them) so that Google / Yahoo will rank their sales sites higher; it is called “Link Popularity Spam”. The search engines are also penalizing link exchange pages – where web sites trade links with each other in order to increase their “Link Pop”; our message directories you see, by token of the number of message links on them appear to be link exchange pages to search engines.

In addition, the search engines filter for what are called “Machine generated doorway pages” – pages made en mass by webmasters to try and get their site to appear in a broader ranger of search terms (combinations of words) to get more customers; unfortunately our messages (like the one you see now) do not appear in the main navigation links of the forum and use scaled down html (they are basic web pages) and so appear to them now as machine generated doorway pages. The increased tightening of these various filters has now affected w w w boards (this forum is a w w w board) to the extent that messages posted here are no longer appearing in Google’s search returns. Unfortunately this means the forums are not so busy and also that people searching on the internet for often obscure search terms as many people post about here, no longer find the resources they once did. Basically the search engines have killed a resource to try and combat spam.

I have posted the problem on Google’s webmaster forum and on several webmaster forums and it is clear I am right. I have contacted Google about the fact their tightened filters have now removed w w w board messages from their search returns which is not a good thing for Internet users of course, but have not received a response so I think they are not going to do anything about it. I think it is a crying shame that the granddaddy of forums the w w w board is being killed off by search engines, not users, which is like putting the cart before the horse. While I understand the vast majority of w w w boards get spammed rotten and are often left with tons of spam on them, but some w w w boards like this are well managed and should not be penalized; for your information around 40 link pop spam attempts happen against these forums everyday but you do not see them because they do not make the board because of the security I have in place.

I noticed all of this when I searched for something recently which normally showed a result from this forum and another travel w w w board; both had gone. When I looked at the messages using a browser with a Google Toolbar installed, it showed the messages all now have PR0; if you use the Google toolbar, you will know what this means.

The Travlurs forum software seems to be more search engine friendly. I have not updated Travlurs with the latest versions from the software manufacturer, so there are some issues with it still with search engines (before any clever clogs amongst you go and say “But it has PR0 on many pages as well!”). But I am confident I can replace the forum scripts used here with those and get past the tightened search engine filters to ensure individual messages get indexed by them again. This is not something I want to do; I think the idea I / we have to do what is good for the search engine not for the Internet user shows that Google is not as good or clever as they like to believe they are. Also, it will not happen tomorrow for sure, unless I simply disable the forum here and upgrade the software on Travlurs to the latest version.

Your comments please!

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