Google has again changed its algorithm this week. Why? The reason is to punish SEO abusers based on their backlink rankings. This sounds a little unsettling, so what’s going on?

Google LogoThe New York Times published a report about an online merchant who was deliberately providing a dismal level of customer service in order to gain a high ranking position in Google’s search results. It seemed that this particular merchant had discovered that by offering a very poor level of service customers would then head off to the main consumer forums available to submit a complaint and negative review, and linking to his website. Google was then picking up on this massive wealth of back links, boosting the merchant’s website right to the top of the results!

When they realised that this massive loophole existed Google were naturally horrified, and immediately implemented a change to their algorithms to prevent this from happening. This particular merchant’s website is now buried very far down the results, but it just goes to show that even after all this time, Google can still get it massively wrong.

The lesson here though is that whilst it can sometimes seem as though you’ve stumbled across a loophole, and be tempted to take advantage of the opportunity to achieve high ranking results, it will inevitably be the case that eventually you’ll be caught out. When you are, Google will hit hard, and that torrent of traffic will be switched off like a tap being turned.

It may be tempting, but it’s better to have a steadily flowing tap that will keep going than a torrent which will inevitably be switched off at any moment.