If you link out to content for any reason other than user experience, here’s one way that Google might be prone to devaluing your content… by looking at the behaviour of users that travel down those links and working out what they do when they get to the site you linked to. Here’s what is in my Google Analytics dashboard today:
Now I have no idea what this site is, but they sent me traffic. So let’s take a dive… it is find-customerize.info and redirects to a site called pingl. It proudly boasts some growth hacking fun and games. Loveley. It generates traffic. But that screenshot above suggests that the traffic isn’t doing very much good. Most likely it isn’t human.
So Google now knows that the traffic is not good.
Majestic also knows that the Pingl site is mostly getting its link value from Japanese Adult sites. If Majestic can work that out, then I expect Google is merely confirming its suspicions by informing me that I am getting some dubious traffic.
Of course – the original site, find-customerize.info, certainly isn’t relying on Google for traffic. It’s not even listed:
This was not the only domain in my logs this week redirecting to Pingl.
Google’s Market Domination Leverage at Play
The authorities must be getting wrapped in legal red tape trying to work out how to penalize Google for abusing (or not) its market position. On the one hand, by telling me about this low quality traffic source, they have endured I don’t go wasting money buying “ads” from this apparently crappy “growth hacking” idea. On the other hand, they have out and out slapped a black mark on a company trying to make money out of a traffic source. Are Google abusing their position, or protecting their users? BOTH! They have a growing responsibility to do the latter, but in doing this, they increase their chances of getting sued for the former.
Any Takeaways for Marketers?
Even if you block Google entrirely from indexing your site, don’t assume Google doesn’t track what you are doing. You will also have to block the referral string. However – I think that the referral string is exactly what this scam is using to try and get money. People see traffic in their logs. They click ofn the referrer and end up with a site that is selling traffic. I don’t buy it… do you?