How the little folks can do their part

Okay, those of us who’ve been paying attention to search engine results lately have noticed something new: splogs. A splog is blog generated by a robot that searches other stable and long lasting blogs and sites searching for content that mentions specific keywords. It then copies that content to its own entries and stuffs them full of links to still other disreputable sites who’ve paid for a boost in their search engine ranking. Often they also try to have domain names that center around the keyword in question. You’ll know when you’ve come across a splog because it seems like it was written by a schizophrenic–endless pages of totally disjointed and unrelated information with links on rather obvious keywords.

The idea is that if you enter a keyword into a search engine, these spam sites will rank higher because, some search engines tend to favor blog content more highly now that they’ve become so popular.

Not surprisingly this has degenerated into an arms race as search engines tune their pattern recognition algorithms to shut this junk out yet still favor real blogs.

But here’s something I’ve noticed with my own obscure site: you can spot the dreck real quick because the backlinks to your site are so few. If you’re an obscure site, when you ego-search your site title, name or some specific string unlikely to be related to anything except you, you only get a few results. These can be quickly sifted through to spot dreck which in turn can be reported to search engines as spam abuse.

This is something the big famous sites can’t do since almost everyone links to them. If you put in "Slashdot" or "Boing Boing," you’re going to get a million hits only some of which are going to be splogs posing as real content. If you put in "Pace Arko" or "Farlops Industries" you get only a few hundred or less and spotting and reporting the junk is much easier.

See? Obscurity isn’t all bad.

This entry was posted in Security and Privacy. Bookmark the permalink.