New York Times' once again probing of the black hat methods of SEO world is not really a surprising news in the world of SEO. This time it has targeted Google with its article that talks about Google's struggle against fighting the Lockmith Spam especially in the Seattle area in Google Places. While this one's not as deeply chastened as the JC Penny or Hugo Boss 's SEO act. None the less, Google is yet again in the lime light for all the wrong reasons. Yet again they are under stark criticism for not being able to put a tab on the ever increasing wave of SEO spam.
The article sheds light on how the Locksmith spam that's taking place in the Seattle area of USA, especially for the search query of “emergency locksmith Seattle.” Whilst the image depicts searches which are local to Seattle area, however according to the article in the Times the state that only seven local listings were local to the area. According to New York Times's David Segal, “They are phone banks, typically set up in far-off places, often in other countries. Call them and they’ll dispatch a locksmith. Some are legitimate, but others may all too often do shoddy work and/or charge two or three times the estimate.”
The New York Times elaborately goes on to explain as to how these companies created fake listings by using the name, address or phones numbers or NAP of an already existing entities (like government buildings) altogether to trick Google and get around their local listing guidelines. In addition to that, to improve their rankings they would go on to use local citation and make references to locality.
Honestly, we all know it is nothing new. Google is certainly not full proof. Besides, why are we always so harsh on Google. Agreed it is become the contemporary Yellow Pages. However didn't the traditional Yellow Pages face similar problems? Of leads which were practically spam too? Didn't Yellow Pages have pages after pages of leads which were not from the area and forced you to spend ridiculous amounts when you called them? So, it could be questioned as to why such harsh criticism towards Google? Perhaps because, with Google our general perception is to only scan through the results that appear on the first page. Perhaps this explains the growing hostility Google is facing as the number of black hat SEO's are making every effort to show up on their first page.
When New York Times contacted Google about the locksmith spam issue, Google’s Gabriel Stricker made the following statement, “We’re aware of the gaming practices happening in the locksmith industry — practices which long predate Google and have affected the Yellow Pages for decades. We’ve implemented several measures to combat this issue, including improving our spam-detection algorithms and working with the locksmith industry to find solutions.”
Whilst the Times article does not really unearth a new issue. One can only hope that locals who search for locksmiths amongst other services are made aware of the Bible-faith they have on Google. And on Google's part, hopefully this will lead to added security measures they will need to take in order to resolve this long on going problem if they wish to maintain their ever growing domination over the search land. The burning question is, will they be able to fight these black-hat practices?