The Battle for Relevance, part 2: The Love Game

by Dmitry Kirsanov 13. January 2012 13:45

PlusOneI thought about what some of my readers and other people said about the new feature of Google, called “Your World”, and all the concerns they had about it. The move was so smart, that it looks like Google outsmarted themselves. If to rephrase the saying “kill two hares with one shot”, the Google managed to kill the whole population of them.

And you know, I hate myself for what I am about to write, because for some reason I think it will be the first shot at the Black SEO frontier of the Battle for Relevance, but hopefully I am exaggerating the problem and it’s only in my mind. I was thinking so when I was writing the first post, too. 

Hare #1: Facebook as the Social Network #1

With Google+ directly affecting your search relevance, it becomes the only social network, which directly affects all aspects of your life, as you are looking for information… Well, I can’t speak for you, but I am searching for information hundreds of times per day.

Facebook will have to retaliate, but it’s position as search engine is none, unlike the YouTube, which is neither a search engine or social network, but is de-facto second largest search results provider in the world, after Google.

Microsoft is a strategic partner of Facebook against Google. And Microsoft Bing is a search provider for Facebook. Facebook can’t open it’s data for Google, because Google is a competing social network. If it would, Microsoft would get tremendous hit and would pay whatever to get Facebook back.

So what they will do? They will sue Google. While the trial goes on, they will prepare the same functionality for Bing and it will be ugly. By the time they will make this function live, Google will become the leader in new era of social networking.

New Old Frontier: Spammers and Black SEO

This is a bit harder, because Google is preparing a trap for “black SEO” spammers. See, now you have to persuade users to click “+1” in order for your site go up the Google search. So one of the first things we’ll see pretty soon will be Java Scripts, automatically clicking the +1 button on the page. It wasn’t so necessary before, but now it will be considered an opportunity… by idiots.

Google will find out cheaters using the same GoogleBot. As the result, websites will be banned from search engines and all likes from those who +1’d them will be erased, even if given to other websites.

Next step – new trojans, or how they are called these days – “viruses”, will +1 pages for you. Spammers won’t modify the code of the web page to include the hack (or they will be banned), and couldn’t provide the URL to target website inside the malicious program (or, again, they will be banned later), so these trojans will download the target URL from attacker’s server, open the web page through your default browser and click +1 for you. It could be done quite fast and outside the visible screen area, so perhaps you won’t notice.

Most likely, there will be the whole new market for programs which will +1 or un-+1 pages for you. Maybe even job title somewhere in India – “+1 bot operator”.

Besides, some old tactics, like referral spam, will become useless and dangerous. More useless than dangerous.

So, my advice for the future, although predictably ignored, will be such – don’t keep your Google account logged on.

The Love Game

White SEO, or SEO which stands against any criminal activity and for making web a better place, will generate some rules to convert your visitors by +1 your page. Most likely you will see sentences like “Click +1 now to get [something] now!”.

AddThis under attack

AddThis is the provider behind the +1 and Like buttons you see on most pages. Now, being under cross fire in this battle for relevance, they will have to acquire new data center for sure. Or perhaps someone will want to buy them and kill the button of the rival.

Tricks

The most funny thing here is not Microsoft starting to play by Google’s rules. No. The most funny thing is that +1 or Likes or whatever is the name of that feature, are not publicly traceable. I mean – you can see whether you or your friends liked that page, but who are the other thousands of people?

With problems Google faces when introducing new services by placing them on top of search, new Your World is a perfect solution. Just add a few thousands likes to your service and it will live on the top of the search legally. I have no idea whether Google is or will use that backdoor, but ask me whether I have any doubts about Microsoft and Facebook.

Conclusion

Overall, I find this whirlwind of causes and effects incredibly interesting. It rebuilds the web the way we couldn’t imagine until 2011. We’ve only started to uncover the brand new world, which will reshape everything so greatly that right now, at this very moment, I proclaim the Your World to be one of the best important things invented by Google and a real gift to the world.

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