Ding Ding. Google v Payday Loans SERPS in the UK

Google has declared they are rolling out more changes to combat ‘spammy’ SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) like “payday loans”. What’s interesting is Google doesn’t often tell us a specific SERP is getting cleaned up. It’s a bit like a fight after school.  It’s worth watching I think if you are interested in SEO.

Google needs to be seen to be sorting out these type of SERPS because the payday loan seo (or spammers if you were a Google tshirt) basically illustrate clearly everybody the lie that is good content ranks above spam. It definitely does not (at the moment – and never has done).

Google has done a decent job of cleaning up certain types of ‘webspam’ in the last few years,but how would you even begin to clean up such a spammy serp? Get media sites writing about it, give them a boost, and delete your entire index for payday loans? Google loves filling the natural listings of transactional serps with big media sites these days. Put everything that ranks above wikipedia in the bin? An informational website at the top of a transactional serp is always a safe move. Basically turn up the brand algo to 11 in this serp?

Obviously, that’s a little too simplistic, I am just thinking about how Google crowds out other easier-to-handle serps at the moment.

Will they actually change the algorithms to handle brute force ranking signals (like redirects, cloaking, link velocity, hacking, domain parasites…whatever)? Hmm. The question would have to be “why now”, if not before, if they can win these ‘webspam’ fights. If they want to win these fights (at this moment in time).

Will they really address the issues that allow a talented person to brute force a ranking without creating a negative seo or hacking explosion?

It’s interesting times to be working in online marketing. Google’s never won this particular fight before and normally I would put my money on the other guys. Google’s kind of putting it out there that they can handle this. Egg on the face sort of thing if it fails. Unless something dramatic changes in the way Google handles links, how can they win? If they can, then what does that mean to other serps in the future? Will they roll out what they deployed in ‘spammier’ serps to other serps?

I wonder how much of this is algorithmic or manually reviewed.

Anyway – more interesting than the usual seo crap so I thought i’d let you know – no doubt we’ll get some answers or at least gossip in the near future. Ding ding!

UPDATE – Google’s Matt Cutts  talks a lot about the “Payday Loan Update” here. Interestingly, mentioned illegal quite a bit at the beginning.



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