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The Morality of Google Penalties

In an article posted on Search Engine Roundtable yesterday , Barry Schwartz posted the results of a poll, and continued a long debated topic “Are Google Penalties Immoral?”

Google Morality

Of the 200 participants:

58% said yes

34% said no

and 8% were unsure.

There have been many articles about the topic and one that has recently come to the forefront is written by Josh Bachynski, who has a master’s degree in Ethics and Rational Decision Theory. He was able to personally chat with Matt about his thoughts on the issue.

The main takeaways are:

  • Does Google have the “moral authority or justification” to penalize sites with algorithms such as Penguin?
  • Penalties result in business closures and layoffs that affect real people.
  • Google is stealing content  (and violating it’s own stance on content duplication) in order to populate it’s Knowledge Graph.

Although I can’t say I agree with the entire sentiment of Josh’s article, it does make some valid points. Personally, I don’t fault Google for Penguin penalties, but I am concerned by the lack of support and resources for those that may be a victim of ignorance or malicious tactics.

Tell us what you think! Join the conversation on Google+

SEO news blog post by @ 5:48 pm on June 5, 2014



Matt Cutts Talks About Ranking Content Without Links

In the latest Google Webmasters video, Google’s Matt Cutts addresses the question “How can content be ranked if there aren’t any links pointing to it?” Matt goes on to talk about how Google looks at the content of pages that don’t have any external links pointing to them; taking into consideration the frequency of keywords used on the page, the authority of the domain providing the content, and of course the uniqueness or rareness of the terminology used on the page.

SEO news blog post by @ 5:23 pm on June 3, 2014

Categories:Search Engine News


Google Is Just Like Weird Al

The data released by Google in their diversity report highlights an issue.  Unfortunately it’s not just their issue, it’s a sector-based issue.  It turns out that Google is made up of a bunch of white dudes.  Sounds like a slightly nerdier version of Congress but with more power.

The breakdown is currently:

61% White
30% Asian
3% Hispanic
2% Black

And it doesn’t end there, gender is also an area of issue with only 30% of their workforce made up of females and with only 21% holding leadership positions and 17% in technology-specific jobs.  At the same time we look at this data we can’t scold Google for it.  The problem is that the system itself generated this demographic years ago.  Let’s think for a moment about who went into technology about 20 to 25 years ago and would now be running it in their 30s, 40s and 50s.  To give you an idea, I did a quick image search for “dungeons and dragons players” and here’s what I saw:

Dungeons & Dragons Players

Click for a larger version if you can’t see the demographics here.

And these are the folks who, back then, went on to own Commodore Vic 20s, 64s and later …. work at Google.

So the question becomes, how do we attract a larger diversity of people into the sector?  To me the biggest “to do” is insure that schools, especially those in areas where white-and-nerdy isn’t the majority, need to be equipped with computers and technology training.  Further, the stigma attached to being a “computer geek” in high school needs to be worked on, especially for girls and non-white folks.  As one of those “white and nerdy” people myself I know that I was easily able to find a group like me back in school.  And for the most part, it was a bunch of other white guys and we’d play cards and schedule out how to get into the same computer science class.  Heck, we still game together almost every Friday evening even though we live on opposite sides of the country.  I suspect that this same clique either doesn’t exist in schools where whites are the minority or the technology isn’t available; likely both.

I’d recommend to talk to your congress but the demographics are seriously about the same there so perhaps the problem itself lies in us, the voting masses.  If we want to change the diversity we need to provide the technology and work to make it appealing.  I know my kids are learning game design and 3D printing in school.  Their teacher is giving them projects that appeal to what they like doing, we need to get the same accesses into every school to make this “white and nerdy” sector more diverse through making it more appealing as a course-set to take.

In the meantime, this is who will be running our technology firms:

SEO news blog post by @ 11:41 am on May 29, 2014

Categories:Google,just for fun


Google Car Doesn’t Need Humans

The biggest problem on the road?  All those pesky people.  It seems that Google has isolated the same problem with their car as they have with their algorithm and are working to deal with it in much the same way … take all those unpredictable humans out of the equation.

To do this Google announced yesterday that they are building their own vehicles (about 100 to be specific) and here’s the kinda-creepy part, the only human-interaction component is a red emergency button to stop it.  No steering wheel, no brake or gas pedal.  Nothing. The argument is that human interaction is more likely to cause an accident than an automated system.  Are they right?  Well, there’s obviously no large-scale evidence to support or refute the claim but with the large number of robotic acquisitions Google has been making of late, they’re certainly well positioned to give the effort a solid run.

One of the interesting features of this technological move is that the car can be requested from any Android phone and with the destination also programed from the phone meaning getting your car with arms full of shopping just got a whole lot easier as it would exit the parkade and meet you in front of the store with the click of a button or (presumably) a voice control.

There isn’t a whole lot of detail out on the car yet but here’s the fuzzy-little video put out to promote it.

I’ve got to say, with the number of less-than-qualified drivers I encounter on the road I hope sincerely that it works and can imagine the mobility it will lend to people who otherwise cannot drive themselves.  While I find it a bit odd, I’m sure there was a time when fire did too.

And Facebook Eavesdropping

And speaking of things you can do fro your phone, Facebook will be adding a function that allows them to listen in while you’re updating your status.  They will be listening to the background noise to enable you to share what you’re watching and/or listening to.    Now you might be thinking, “If I wanted to share what I’m watching I’d simply include that in my status update.”  Interesting thought but apparently Facebook is pretty sure you might not know you want to share this enormously invaluable piece of pop culture with all the folks you know.  I mean, if I can’t know which of my friends is watching Honey Booboo or listening to the latest by Justin Beiber how am I to know who I should unfriend?

Think of it as a culture-based filtering.  Perhaps they could add a feature to automatically unfriend people who have horrible taste, put them all in a driverless car and send them all to a cave so they don’t have cell phone access.

Google & Facebook: Together to make the world a better place.

SEO news blog post by @ 9:49 am on May 28, 2014




Google to Keep 30 Billion Overseas

Google, the US search giant, has been facing some criticism lately for keeping approximately $30 billion overseas. Google currently derives over half its revenue overseas but avoids paying US taxes on the funds by keeping the cash offshore. In a report submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Google has stated:

“It is reasonable to forecast that Google needs between $20 to $30 billion of foreign earnings to fund potential acquisitions of foreign targets and foreign technology rights from U.S. targets in 2013 and beyond.”

According to at the end of 2013, $33.6 billion of Google’s $58.7 billion we’re held overseas.

“If these funds are needed for our operations in the U.S., we would be required to accrue and pay U.S. taxes to repatriate these funds.  However, our intent is to permanently reinvest these funds outside of the U.S. and our current plans do not demonstrate a need to repatriate them to fund our U.S. operations.”

Google has stated the funds have been earmarked for acquisitions and capital expenditures overseas.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:23 am on May 22, 2014

Categories:Search Engine News


Ebay Hit by Cyber Attack

Ebay has announced that it was the hit by a massive cyber attack today that may have exposed some customer information. Although it’s been reported that no financial information was stolen, they are urging clients to change their passwords immediately

The compromised information included :

  • Name
  • Password
  • Email Address
  • Physical Address
  • Phone Number
  • Date of Birth

Ebay’s official release has stated that hackers may have gained access through employee log-in credentials which in turn granted them access to the corporate network. Ebay has stated it is working closely with it’s security experts and law enforcement agencies. For more information, please read the full story here.

SEO news blog post by @ 5:48 pm on May 21, 2014


Cute Little Panda 4.0


On Monday via Twitter, Matt Cutts head of Google’s web spam team announced that the latest version of the Panda algorithm had been released. The Panda 4.0 update is said to target different languages, as well as, the usual attack on thin, spammy content. Many companies are claiming a jump in search query referrals and traffic in the last two days. This reinforces the concept of greater gains for those that have stayed the course of maintaining unique, well written, high quality content.

Although it’s being speculated that this Panda update is the “softer” Panda update that’s been anticipated, and is supposed to help local and small business, it can also be said that it could be significantly damaging to those that have ignored the need for high, quality informative site content. If you haven’t been paying attention the past 2 years and are still creating thin and scraped content you will see a fall in ranking due to uneducated strategies.

While this update may be great for the web, it goes to show that webmasters of all kinds need to maintain education with each and every update. Its unfortunate innocent people may get demoted with the spammers, but updates like this need to move ahead in order for an honest web to move forward. Google has remained true to their 2013 video release that explains what these new algorithm updates are aiming to achieve.

Google is 40% of the internet highway and for them to create smarter search queries not only benefits them but also can benefit you as a consumer. For years the internet has been an overgrown land of outlaws with no specific rules in place. Google has been working hard to organize an erratic mess in hopes to give an honest and calculated answer for those who wish to be seen on its product.

It now seems that in time Google will have enough control of its product to produce a more calculated environment for both client and user.

SEO news blog post by @ 1:33 pm on



Ripoff Report De-Indexed In Australia’s Yahoo!7

Ripoff Reportt De-Indexed In Australia.

Yahoo!7, the Australian version of Yahoo! has de-indexed This news came to me from Janice Duffy (thanks Janice).

This move was brought on in part by the efforts of who have organized complains of those who feel that Ripoff Report does not enable those accused of wrongdoing to properly and effectively address the issue thus causing permanent harm.  Obviously this was effective, at least in Australia.

A Yahoo7 spokesperson discussing the issue with had the following to say:

“Yahoo7 has received significant complaints in regards to defamatory content in our search results which have been generated from links on the website Under Australian law Yahoo7 has an obligation to remove defamatory content from our search results, when notified of it. Given the volume of complaints received in respect of the website, Yahoo7 has put in place measures to stop ripoffreport results appearing in Yahoo7 Search while we review our legal position.”

This is going to be a welcome precedent for in other locations that feel they are fighting a losing battle for their reputation after receiving a bad report.  It is fairly common to hear of issues RipoffReport being used purely to damage the reputation of someone without actual cause either by competitors or disgruntled individuals.

If nothing else, this illustrates a problem unique to the Internet and coupled with the EU ruling on the Right To Be Forgotten, reflects the shift of a significant amount of power from the engines to the users.

SEO news blog post by @ 7:00 am on


Is Pengiun 3.0 On The Way?

The folks over at Search Engine Roundtable have reported that there’s been a lot of chatter on some of the webmaster forums as to a possible Google algorithm update. Although Google has yet to release any official word, the forums are a buzz with webmaster seeing shifts in search traffic and ranking positions. There have been a variety of suggestions ranging from a Penguin 3.0 update, which many suspect will be released in late May, to a Panda algorithm refresh, or it may be simply that Google is taking further action against link networks. Until we receive the official word from Google, we’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:34 pm on May 20, 2014


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