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Thread: I've never seen this trick before

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsieg58 View Post
    But we are discussing THE FACT that someone IS using .edu websites to take over the entire page one of Google. Which is what this thread is about. Ergo, when someone is able to use .edu websites to take over the entire page one of Google, there is compelling evidence in the form of Google SERP's itself, that they may be using .edu websites to take over the entire page one of Google for said keyword.
    The point that Mike is trying to raise is this. The fact that they are .edu has (in his OPINION) little factor on this. Your OPINION is that it does.

    Since, as Crabfoot pointed out, many of the pages are gibberish and keyword stuffed, it isn't about quality content, as Google itself would lead us to believe.
    It is very difficult to algorythmically (sp) determine "quality of content". What Mike is saying is that Google uses other more quantifiable methods to determine quality (of which he listed many). Most importantly in this discussion is that of domain authority, where a domain as a whole is considered more trusted which would give a boost to any pages hosted on said domain. Your OPINION is that the tld has an impact, where Mike's opinion is that it does not. What does have an impact is that lots of people from lots of important trusted websites are likely to link to an .edu which hence gives it more juice to pass around. It's not the extension, but rather the links to it that cause it's subpages to rank higher.

    Which leads us to conclude there must be other factors involved. And the consensus is, by sheer weight of overwhelming OBJECTIVE evidence of Google SERP's themselves
    Consensus? You and Crabfoot agree that .edus have more ooomph, Mike and I agree that you're wrong and someone else agrees that they see a similar SERP to yours.

    Overwhelming evidence? You've picked a fairly low competition keyword with no clear leader in terms of pages to rank and extrapolated this out to mean something completely different.

    It reminds me of the old days at Sitepoint when some guy was arguing with Stymiee about whether a page needed to have a term on it to rank or whether an anchor link would be sufficient. So he goes out and registers stymiee.com and puts gibberish on the page, then he sticks a link to it with stymiee as the anchor text and gets it to show up and claims that anchor text is what did it. I couldn't get him to understand that perhaps naming the domain as an exact match might have something to do with it.

    If we are looking for OVERWHELMING OBJECTIVE evidence that .edus have an advantage then run the same test with at least moderately competitive keywords.

    Heck, when I run the same query I see 3 orgs in the list. Therefore, I must reach the conclusion that .orgs get a boost because they are over-represented in my SERP and as such they must always get a boost.

    since all the offending websites are .edu, that .edu itself has something to do with it. Given those factors, it stands to reason, that Google likes .edu a lot more than my .com. That's it in a nutshell.
    My rebuttal, in a nutshell, correlation does not equal causation.

    If Mike thinks this opinion beats all the evidence to the contrary, that's cool too. But last I looked, I wasn't under the obligation to agree with his opinion over fact. If Mike is disputing the fact that three of us all got the same result, that's all right too. But it's not unusual for people with alternate viewpoints to back up their opinions with facts either, which I didn't see any evidence of.
    I didn't see any facts on either side, just assumptions. I just feel that his assumptions are much more on base than the other one in this thread.

    Like I said, I'm not arguing, or trying to be uncivil or insulting. But I don't know how to put it any "nicer."
    Perhaps by not stating that he doesn't understand what you guys are talking about, or that he isn't even talking about the same thing as you guys, or less use of SHOUTING, might be a start. Especially when all his points were valid and relevant to the discussion.

    Perhaps some further reading might assist you in understanding the concepts that Mike and I are trying to put forward.

    http://moz.com/learn/seo/domain-authority
    http://moz.com/blog/whiteboard-frida...rust-authority
    http://searchengineland.com/guide/se...earch-rankings
    Last edited by tke71709; 1 October 2014 at 12:46 pm. Reason: fixed quote

  2. #22
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    I disagree, but thank you for the clarification.

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    Disagree that correlation does not equal causation?

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/kjh2110/the-...e-correlations

  4. #24
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    You've stated your position, I've stated mine. We disagree. That's fine, and accepted. I could dispute most of what you say with links to various sources that support my opinion. But I see no reason to try and convince you because in my opinion (See? No caps...emphasis, not shouting) one, it is pointless. Two, it will lead the conversation in a direction that is not the topic of this thread. Three, I do not wish to argue, as I've stated three times so far.

    So you made your point...bravo. But you haven't changed my mind.

  5. #25
    Marketing Mentor Mikl is a Premium Member
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    Let's go back to the original proposition: a search for "Cheap Adobe OEM software" resulted in an entire page of .edu sites, apart from the first three which were all from Adobe. I maintained that that result was a one-off and non-reproducible.

    To check that, I just did a search for that very phrase. I'll paste in a screen shot of the results page below. In summary, I found the following domains in the first page of the results (20 hits):

    .com 10
    .org 4
    .ro 2
    .cr 2
    .net 1
    .ca 1

    .edu 0

    Attachment 626

    I'm not claiming any signficance for this. We all know that Google searches are personalised now, and that the results that one person sees are not necessarily anything like those that another person sees - as this example shows.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsieg58 View Post
    You've stated your position, I've stated mine. We disagree. That's fine, and accepted.
    The way that it should be.

    I could dispute most of what you say with links to various sources that support my opinion. But I see no reason to try and convince you because in my opinion (See? No caps...emphasis, not shouting) one, it is pointless.
    Isn't that the whole point of a forum? To discuss things and try to shed new light on a subject for the benefit of all?

    Two, it will lead the conversation in a direction that is not the topic of this thread.
    OK, I'll bite. What is the topic of this thread because I have no clue at this point. I saw a bunch of posts about .edu domains getting a boost, but you're stating that this was not the topic of this thread.

    Three, I do not wish to argue, as I've stated three times so far.
    One can have a civil discourse without it becoming an argument. I haven't seen an argument in this thread in this so far just a little uncivil behaviour at times.

    So you made your point...bravo. But you haven't changed my mind.
    Passive aggressive much?

    I didn't expect to change your mind based on the ferociousness of how you defended your viewpoint, I just wanted to ensure that other people who read this thread don't accept certain statements as fact when they are not (regardless of how many CAPS are used).

    Anyhoooo, I've visited the forum more in the last two days then I have in probably the last month and I need to get back to productive activities so kudos to you for spicing things up around here a bit.
    Last edited by tke71709; 2 October 2014 at 6:34 am.

  7. #27
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    so kudos to you for spicing things up around here a bit.
    You're very welcome. Bye.

    Let's go back to the original proposition: a search for "Cheap Adobe OEM software" resulted in an entire page of .edu sites, apart from the first three which were all from Adobe. I maintained that that result was a one-off and non-reproducible.
    My original keyword was "Cheap software adobe captivate" and "Adobe captivate OEM" I also just redid the search and came up with my original page of all .edu again. Which, of course, is anecdotal. Now, it would be keyword specific, and the spammer would have to target specific keywords. And yes, I agree, results are personalized now. But still, the only common denominator I can see is the .edu.

    I maintained that that result was a one-off and non-reproducible.
    It could be non-reproducible except two others reproduced it. Here is the actual page they all redirect to.

    However, think about it from another angle. Let's say a scammer/hacker was/is able to dominate first and second page results for something like "Cheap Adobe software" (Which three or four results on page one also redirect too. But also five results have been removed.) Most of that software is in the $150-$200 range. Adobe software is expensive. (Adobe Captivate goes for around $700-$800) So I imagine lots of people are looking for it cheaply. This company originates out of China. The average worker in China probably doesn't make much more than that in a month. Think how much money we are talking about here if you can take over page one of multiple keywords. You can forget about prosecuting. And it does look like Google is aware of it, but can't stay ahead of it. (As is evidenced by the removed search results.)

    That's a whole lot of motive. And the circumstantial evidence keeps piling up.
    Common denominators are:

    .edu domains
    Specific keywords
    Redirecting to the same page, of the same website
    Cached pages show gibberish
    Pirated software for sale
    Google removing search results
    Other reproducing the same results
    Peter Davis said it was the "Holy Grail" of black hat, and even a black hat term for it. Which means other are trying to reproduce and/or do the same thing.

    So I still say .edu domains play a central role in the scam. If you took out the .edu domains, my guess is, those results, the pirate site would disappear off the pages. The only thing conferring any legitimacy at all to the websites is the.edu TLD. Which leads one to believe the .edu domains are conferring, or contributing, some sort of "juice" to the mix. Any of the above denominators, except the .edu would lead nowhere. But if you take the .edu out of the mix I can't see how the scam would work.

  8. #28
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    I am going to weigh in here with a slightly different point of view.


    First of all, it is clear to me that the that the redirect pages on the .edu websites are ranking well. It is also clear from the cached pages that at least recently pages were mere gibberish.


    However, I also agree that despite the fact that the .edu pages are ranking well, logic does not dictate that they are ranking well because Google gives a preference to pages .edu websites.


    In fact, of the four sites in the image that dsieg58 posted on 27 September 2014, only one is a domain with a .edu extension. The others are .org .fr and .ca. Note that the .fr and .ca sites are educational institutions even though they do not have .edu extensions.


    What these four sites have in common is that they are all established websites with a well established reputation.


    Based on my observations, my hypothesis would be:


    1. The reputation of a website as a whole carries substantial weight in determining the PageRank of a particular page.
    2. Finding a way to insert black hat SEO pages on a website of an educational institution (.edu or not) is much easier than finding a way to insert similar pages on websites with a similar reputation. The tens of thousands of users that have the rights to publish content in their own accounts on the domain of an educational institution provide an opening to abuse that Google (and other search engines) is unable to counter at this point.

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to David S For This Useful Post:

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  10. #29
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    In fact, of the four sites in the image that dsieg58 posted on 27 September 2014, only one is a domain with a .edu extension. The others are .org .fr and .ca. Note that the .fr and .ca sites are educational institutions even though they do not have .edu extensions.
    That was because of the height-width limitations of my screen. I can certainly zoom out to include the full page, but now the print is too small to read. But let's take a look. This is what my browser is showing.

    10-2-2014 2-55-35 PM.jpg

    [Section with lots of spammy links deleted - David can resubmit with broken links if necessary. Kay]

    So you're correct. Not all of them are .edu, but enough of them (4 out of 6) are to create a pattern of specifically targeting .edu's. Also interesting, is one of the others appears to be a competitor of the first scammer.

    1. The reputation of a website as a whole carries substantial weight in determining the PageRank of a particular page.
    2. Finding a way to insert black hat SEO pages on a website of an educational institution (.edu or not) is much easier than finding a way to insert similar pages on websites with a similar reputation. The tens of thousands of users that have the rights to publish content in their own accounts on the domain of an educational institution provide an opening to abuse that Google (and other search engines) is unable to counter at this point.
    These are good points. Especially point 2. Let's assume they're true. I don't know what the page rank of these sites are as I don't have the Google toolbar installed anymore. So maybe you can supply that. It would/could be a another contributing factor.

    So then, are you inferring that the page rank then of the host domain in the main factor involved and not the .edu? If so, and we can determine the page rank of the various pages, that's a legitimate and/or compelling argument.

    Another equally interesting question, at least to me, would be the number, and quality of the links pointing to these pages, since they are gibberish. This also must have been done to create the illusion of credibility. Notice also, all the subdomains are different, but hold the same page design, except for the competitor.
    Last edited by Kay; 2 October 2014 at 4:13 pm. Reason: Remove links

  11. #30
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    [Section with lots of spammy links deleted - David can resubmit with broken links if necessary. Kay]
    I can see no reason to. (resubmit the links) People can take my word for it not, as they wish.

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