By Ali Harris, content manager, ClickThrough Marketing
I just did a search for "Internet marketing", out of interest, mainly, and I was bit surprised by Google's first page of results.
The Internet marketing industry is currently feeling the harsh end of Google's brickbat - with the Penguin update playing havoc with rankings as the engine looks to end webspam and keyword stuffing.
Examples of bad results have come up on various forums - we wrote yesterday about searching "Paypal France". That term returns a whole load of spammy results.
That, suffice to say, wasn't Google's intention with Penguin.
We wrote earlier about another mistaken side effect of the algorithm update: the potential for successful negative SEO campaigns.
But until there are proven examples of negative SEO bombing an otherwise entirely reputable website, it's the organic results that matter.
And the organic results remain skewed. I just searched "Internet marketing" on organic Google, without logging in, but with local UK search on (not by region, just country).
Two of the top five organic results are spam. That's almost 50% spam. A few weeks ago, the top results for Internet marketing were all SEO companies.
So in this case, Penguin has made Google 40% more rubbish than it was.
Try it yourself: you'll find returns for a telecoms company which offers phone numbers and telephonic systems - but has absolutely no apparent content, services, or information about "internet marketing", as well as a site pertaining to offer the 'new rules' of Internet marketing, but actually only featuring two measly pages of absolutely terribly written content, and a seeming focus on Forex.
I've had a look at the sites themselves and can't really see why Google thinks they should return in the top five results for an "internet marketing" search.
Maybe the search engine is having a laugh at the SEO industry - who are making money off Google's free product (search) when Google would far rather they used its paid-for products (paid search or pay per click).
Or maybe this is another example of the recent Penguin update getting things very wrong indeed.
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