When the “Trusted” Sites SPAM the Search Engines

So lately the big thought seems to be that there are a core group of “trusted” websites that the search engines, esp. Google really hold in high regard. I would be surprised if FT.com is not one of those – a highly, highly respected and popular financil periodical.

When they link to another site it really gives that other site a boost in rankings – as its then very likely that the site being linked to must have something worthwhile for such a highly respected site to link to them. Spammy sites are different – as its hard to trust them and their lack of reputation.

But what happens when the most “trustworthy” resort to black hat, spammy tricks? Does this not throw the whole sense of order out of whack?

Check out Linking Matters’ article about FT.com and their hidden links, which I found via Aaron Wall’s entry about it.

You can probably most easily view this by visiting this page – http://news.ft.com/yourmoney (I refuse to hyperlink to it given the situation) and viewing the last set of links on the left hand side, about 1 inch under the “Investors Chronicle” link. Either hover your mouse around or highlight that general area and you’ll see a link to moneysupermarket.com.

You can also view Google’s cache of that page looking for the text and you’ll see it highlighted. That link has been “hidden” via the classic white text on white background tactic. Clearly against Google’s TOS.

  • Will FT.com be penalized in Google?
  • Surely they won’t be banned?
  • How will Google respond to this?
  • Will moneysupermarket.com be banned?
  • At minimum will some webmaster be blaimed and lose his/her job?

This should be interested news in the coming days.