Sorry Glengarriff Lodge I’m not gonna rig Google for you

While many Irish bloggers are linking to the Glengarriff Lodge site with certain keywords so it’ll do well in Google, I’m not going to.

Mizen-01
Photo owned by Gerard Lovett

I’d rather preserve the fact that when I blog I am not given money or the chance of winning something of monetary value to be inspired to write that post. That’s not stopping others though from taking part in their competition. Details here. Seems you can only be in the chance of winning if there over 25 other people using the Google rigging text. The Glengarriff Lodge does look nice I have to say, I agree with Donncha, it’s a shame though that they are using a technique as odious as Pay Per Post to promote themselves. As a great man once said, that’s just SEO bullshit.

Help Wanted, No Bullshit
Photo owned by sekimura

Luxury Self Catering

2500 people have subscribed to my website instead of coming back each day. You can subscribe to the site using a feedreader or email. I'm also on Twitter. My online marketing blog might also be worth a visit. Thanks for visiting - Damien.

39 Responses to “Sorry Glengarriff Lodge I’m not gonna rig Google for you”

  1. Ciaran says:

    Damien, how is what they are doing any different than the science week competitions that YOU were promoting. I mean the it’s the exact same thing.

    Science Week Ireland blogging competition – Win a Nintendo Wii each day this week … C’mon and get blogging. Link to the Science Week website … or link back here

    http://www.mulley.net/2007/11/13/science-week-ireland-blogging-competition-win-a-nintendo-wii-each-day-this-week/

    How can you call it bullshit when you were peddling the exact same thing, if anything Glengarriff Lodge are more upfront about it.

  2. Damien says:

    Science Week Ireland didn’t ask for rigging text and the linking was so they’d know who entered.

  3. Damien says:

    To add to that, you even partially quoted that I said link to their site or mine so they can track the people. The bit you didn’t quote also said people could guest post here if they didn’t have a blog. How is linking to my blog post rigging Google for them?

  4. Ciaran says:

    There is other ways of seeing who entered, they choose links because of of the effect it would have it’s the exact same thing. You even said:

    A nice initiative was Science Week that encouraged bloggers to blog answers to daily questions. The bribe of a Wii also helped but it is a good start to get people talking about science. I like ideas like that.

    Yet here you say:

    it’s a shame though that they are using a technique as odious as Pay Per Post to promote themselves.

    I’ll agree they shouldn’t have fourced the anchor text on people, funny thing is, it would actually be better for their SEO if they let people choose their own text, just not for that exact phrase, more in general.

    And it’s not rigging google, neither of them are, they are just running a competition same as science week.

  5. Ciaran says:

    I wasn’t going to quote the whole piece thats why a left a link that … clear indicates its a partial quote. I’m accusing you of rigging google either.

  6. Ciaran says:

    Typed that last comment to fast it’s meant to read

    I wasn’t going to quote the whole piece thats why a left a link. The … clearly indicates its a partial quote. I’m not accusing you of rigging google either.

  7. Eolai says:

    Is specifying your preferred anchor text “rigging”? It’s done openly so at least Google (and the rest) can in theory build disqualification of text solicited by competition into their algorithm.

    Also Glengariff don’t specify that your link can’t have a nofollow tag – so you can link to them with their required text and pass on zero Google juice. I’m surprised you haven’t done that yourself or suggested others might.

  8. Ciaran says:

    Totally agree Eolai, he has nofollowed his link and that would have been a much more constructive and informative post . I mean when you submit links anywhere you specify your anchor text, directories etc.

    I think the worst part of this post is linking to Eoghan’s link bait which is as much of an attempt to “rig google.” No offence to Eoghan he is a great guy and a great designer who I have a lot of respect for but the post Damien has linked to is blatant link bait which he has helped, with what is no doubt Eoghan’s preferred anchor text, just without Eoghan having to ask.

    All that said post whatever the hell you want, I know you like to remind people that you will anyway. Just thought it was a bit harsh when you were promoting the nearly the same thing a few weeks ago. You what this post do to

    http://www.google.ie/search?q=Glengarriff+Lodge&meta=cr%3DcountryIE

  9. Damien says:

    @Eolai: They included the HTML to use to link. I would think that Aonach, the designers of the website and the crowd emailing bloggers asking for links know all about nofollows. The suggested code did not include nofollow and they never suggested a nofollow alternative. Given that only once 25 people link to the site with luxury self-catering or whatever as the text, yes it is rigging. Bad rigging but rigging.

    @Ciaran Science week was not about links, was not about specifying what the linking text had to be and was not about “unless x number use this exact phrase we are taking our ball back”. Science Week asked for people to kick off coversations about science. If they wanted to game Google and get good rankings they could have been much cleverer and more efficient. And yes, glad you saw the irony of linking to Eoghan’s linkbait.

  10. Ciaran says:

    As long as it was meant to be ironic :)

    You have to admit that part of the science week comp was getting people to write sciencey posts with links to scienceweek.ie, it’s not like they were oblivious to the fact.

    The Glengarriff Lodge people should have just have been a lot cleverer about the way the did it. The 25 people thing is bollox but it is standard in some competitions they just don’t normally put it in your face like that.

    Aonach would never try and rig google anyway the say so themselves ..

    If you want your site to be found and ranked in Google, instead of trying to outwit Google …. you should work with them.

    http://aonach.com/chatter/search-engine-optimisation-for-business/

    Hmm I find myself agreeing most of your points now but I stand by argument that it is not dissimilar from the Science week competition.

    This will give you a giggle beaten by a geocities site
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Aonach

  11. Damien says:

    @Ciaran Fuck off and get back to disagreeing with me. This is no fun. I also used ironic in an ironic manner but not in a rain on a wedding day way.

    I’m still going to disagree with the linkbaiting thing for Scienceweek though.

  12. Ciaran says:

    Ah come on

    We might give you a Wii if you link to us.

    or

    We might give you a free weekend if you link to us (with this text and 25 other people do too)

    They are both the same, Glengarriff Lodge just went to far.
    How are the first parts different?

  13. Damien says:

    The first is talk about science type stuff – chance of winning a Wii. Link to our site so we can see who is talking about us. Or link back to Mulley.net (though this was my suggestion without asking them but they seemed coold with it), I even suggested guest posting on my blog. I know you suggest that is trying to up rankings for the Science Week site but I genuinely believe it was them just using Google alerts to check for who was talking about them. You’re right, they could have used some unique phrase instead. Maybe they will next time. It’s not as if they can rank any higher for Science Week as it is and they’d hardly hire a PR company for SEO.

    The second is not about discussing why the Glengarriff area is great or actually sharing your thoughts or experiences a topic. It’s give us a link with this phrase, trackback other people to make it “viral”, once we reach critical mass then we’ll have the competition.

  14. Eolai says:

    Damien, I can accept that requiring anchor text that is purely descriptive rather than, for example, using the name, is rigging but that opens the definition of rigging quite a lot.

    And of course they know all about nofollows but it’s common in SEO competitions to expressly prohibit its use, however in this case they don’t, notwithstanding the provided linking code “in case you need it”.

    My point was that if you really believe it’s wrong you could have undermined it by suggesting people only link to it using nofollows because they’d still be legitimately entered in the draw.

  15. Damien says:

    @Eolai It’s the linkers choice whether they use nofollow or not. I’m not going to tell them to undermine it by doing that.

  16. Weeno Blog says:

    SEO and Linkbait, Good or Bad?…

    The Irish blogosphere has been buzzing with the talk of SEO and linkbaiting lately…
    Eoghan has been saying that SEO is a load of crap while at the same time a lot of people are calling his posts nothing but linkbait, which is a popular SEO techn…

  17. Piaras Kelly says:

    Right seeing as I’ve been inadvertently dragged into this. As the organiser of the Science Week blog competition I can say hands down that it was in no way designed to increase our clients Google rating. A simple piece of proof on that it that they ranked first for science week anyway and they operate a number of sites that rank highly for science related terms. As Damien points out, we’re not an SEO company. In fact a seperate company is employed on this basis.

    We just wanted conversations about science during science week. This initiative mirrored similar things we were doing offline and online. For example, we published research about the technology people couldn’t live without and also posted videos online of personalities giving similar feedback.

  18. Richard Hearne says:

    It’s done openly so at least Google (and the rest) can in theory build disqualification of text solicited by competition into their algorithm.

    Your kidding right? You come up with that process and I suggest you take a trip to the patents office… Seriously

  19. frankp says:

    Hey Damien, as I said elsewhere I had a hand in organising the competition so would like to take a moment to defend my own thinking on this.

    I am well aware of the downsides to having loads of links suddenly popping up with the same anchor text to the same page to Glengarriff Lodge- this will not have anything like the impact of natural links to the site.

    This competition was to raise visibility of Glengarriff Lodge and get a buzz going about the place.

    Yes, I would hope that the competition will kickstart a drive to get links, and I don’t deny that ‘luxury self catering’ was used as a term it would be nice to get a boost on, but in order to make the entering as easy as possible I personally thought providing one simple link was the way to go to get traction.

    The ‘pass it on’ aspect of this competition is as important as the links.

    Also, in direct response to your mention of ‘pay per post’ I think there is a massive difference here – Glengarrif Lodge is a luxury self catering accommodation, and the competition prize at stake here is a weekend in the place – therefore, a blogger must actually value what the Glengarriff Lodge site itself is in order to enter the competition and link to it.

    This is very different to recieving cold hard cash, or an unrelated product, in return for posting about something – pay per post does not require the blogger to place any value in what he may be writing about.

    Anyway, that’s my personal 2c on it, I hope it at least clarifies where I was coming from in my role in helping shape the competition.

  20. Richard Hearne says:

    @Frank – I dont think there will be any issues with the focused anchor text. Even if their backlink profile is non-existant.

    The links you’re getting couldn’t be any more natural – embedded in the body text of blog posts. I’d say those links will have high value as there is little or no footprint that Google could see in order to de-weight them (even if they wanted to).

    Personally I’d have left it up to people to link anyway they wish (I know I’m a hypocrite here, but that was then and this is now).

    But I think it’s a great marketing idea, even if the message is being lost in any controversy over links.

    Best rgds
    Richard

  21. Damien says:

    @Frank

    the competition prize at stake here is a weekend in the place – therefore, a blogger must actually value what the Glengarriff Lodge site itself is in order to enter the competition and link to it.

    Except you are saying that it is worth over €1100 to whoever wins it. You have termed the competition in terms of cash value.

    Also it’s an exclusive competition requiring certain actions to be performed before you can get access to the competition, increasing the chances of getting the cash benefit from linking with certain words. Quack quack quack. Pay per post. Will you encourage people to use nofollow?

  22. Richard Hearne says:

    The solution here would have been to have a competition and promote the hell out of that. People would have naturally linked to the competition page, and likely have written a post about the place mentioning that it was a luxury self catering home yadda, yadda, yadda.

    That would have overcome any apprehension about buying links etc. Afterall, in general if you have link worthy content it will be linked to. Personally I think this contest is link worthy.

    And then of course after everything said and done you could always redirect the post (not that I’d ever do such a thing).

  23. Eolai says:

    “It’s done openly so at least Google (and the rest) can in theory build disqualification of text solicited by competition into their algorithm.”

    Your kidding right? You come up with that process and I suggest you take a trip to the patents office… Seriously

    Maybe that’s why I said “in theory”. Honestly.

  24. Richard Hearne says:

    Not trying to stir shite here, but in theory I could be a purple leprechaun. I actually dont even think your idea is feasible in theory TBH.

    But like I said – take that trip to patents office if you can figure out a reliable footprint algo that has minimal FPs…

  25. Eolai says:

    My original point was about the open way Glengariff was doing things and how such information in the open may be treated, especially by an organisation which seems to pride itself on the development of automatic methods to process info.

    I don’t believe Google have magical powers but you are able to process info that is in the open in the way that you can’t with info that isn’t (like much of text link buying).

    You disagree on how far that processing can go. Fair enough. And thanks for the helpful purple leprechaun analogy.

  26. Richard Hearne says:

    Actually if you dig into many of the larger link buying systems they very often leave very obvious footprints that are far easier to determine algorithmically than these links would ever be.

    You see sites with paid links in sidebars and footers – I think these are probably detected more often than not. Figuring out that a single links in a unique block of text on a more or less unique blog is virtually impossible to detect unless the blog in question starts leaving multiple detectable footprints. Paid links within one or two blog posts on a site are virtually undetectable with an algo.

  27. Eolai says:

    Yes. It was non-sidebar, non-footer, non obvious footprint kind of link buying that I was referring to.

  28. Ciaran says:

    @Piaras I didn’t know you were involved in the Science week comp, in fact I didn’t know who was involved in either comp. I just thought they seamed the same to me on a very basic “Normal user” level, which is the type of person likely to find this post given it is now number 5 on G.ie for Glengarriff Lodge
    http://www.google.ie/search?q=Glengarriff+Lodge

    When you break them down like we have here the differences are obvious, but my intention was only to point out the similarities the “Normal user” would see.

    @Richard “purple leprechaun” ROLF, your dead right about the links though they would be better with personal anchors.

  29. jazz biscuit says:

    Could they not have asked us all to put something awesome like

    http://www.jazzbiscuit.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/luxury_self_catering.gif

    on our sites. I totally would have done that.

  30. No one asked me to put anything on my blog :(

  31. Curly K says:

    Well, as “normal user” and blogger I do think that you are being harsh on Glengarriff Lodge and their competition Damien. I did a post cos yes I would absolutely love to win but it is very much as Frank says, it is only because I personally place an inherent value outside money on the prize. I mean if someone handed me an all-expenses paid trip to say Playa de Ingles you still wouldn’t beat back to place!

    Maybe I’m naive but I really think the competition is a lot more innocent than you are making it out to be. I certainly received no viral emails or crap, I saw the details posted on a blog I regularly read, went onto the Glengarriff Lodge site and really liked what I saw and indeed the simplicity of what they are trying to do with the competition.

    Don’t be such a cynic Damien, you’re too young for all that!

  32. Evert Bopp says:

    Considered putting up a blog-post but decided “no, f*ck that”.
    Nobody might read my blog but it’s not cheap…

  33. Richard Hearne says:

    And for anyone who doubted the power of targeted anchor text:

    http://www.google.ie/search?q=Luxury+Self+Catering

  34. Richard Hearne says:

    One further point – the interesting thing will be to see if that rank sticks. The burstiness of the links may signal a transient topic. Interesting experiment all the same.

  35. [...] some parts of the blogging community are up in arms about this. You can read the comments over on Mulley’s blog. I fall in with those who disagree with Mulley’s view.  As far as I’m concerned, I was [...]

  36. frankp says:

    Well, due to the feedback, and some careful consideration, the competition has been modified. No Follow is explicitly mentioned as an option, with the code to go along with it, and the specific anchor text rule is gone gone gone.

    Neither I nor Glengarriff Lodge meant to stir up such controversy, hopefully this will smooth things over.

    Thanks to everyone for feedback!

  37. [...] tongues. Yes you can do this through clever little viral ad campaigns, zippy little jingles and begging bloggers for linksÙ¡ but it is much more effective to get people to talk about your product because they [...]

  38. [...] document is worth linking-to but instead to boost the perceived relevance of that document for selfish reasons) is bad for everyone. It’s unethical and it’s dishonest and in the long run, gets us [...]

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